Boston Celtics

Jan 18, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) reacts after a basket during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

After two years of championship-or-bust expectations that they never could meet for a variety of reasons, the Celtics find themselves back as an underdog when it comes to winning a championship in 2019-20.

Much of that has to do with the exit of All-Star talents Kyrie Irving (to Brooklyn) and Al Horford (to the Sixers) as free agents, as well as the loss of veteran starter-level players like Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes. And even Terry Rozier, who played as the team’s No. 1 point guard in the 2018 NBA Playoffs, left town for a shiny, new deal with the Hornets.

But it’s a role that Marcus Smart thinks will be beneficial to this year’s team.

“It’s good for us,” Smart, appearing on XM Radio, said of the Celtics’ return to ‘underdog’ status in the NBA landscape. “Our backs are against the wall now. When you corner a wounded coyote, you better be ready for it fight with everything it’s got. That’s us this year. We’re fighting like wounded coyotes with everything we have.”

(Honestly, find me a better comp for Smart than a wounded coyote.)

Now, it feels worth mentioning that The Wounded Coyote Celtics still have a seemingly capable team, especially with the East’s continued talent-drain led by Kawhi Leonard’s departure from Toronto.

And with Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown still in Celtic Green, and free agents Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter added to the mix, there’s no doubt that these Coyotes should have a fighting chance in the East.

With an emphasis on the ‘fighting’ part, too, apparently.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.