The Celtics have been a mainstay in speculative trade discussions all season but one player whose value is constantly underestimated on a national scale is Marcus Smart. According to Chris Forsberg of ESPN, Smart’s flaws on the offensive end tend to be what people focus on, rather than all of the intangible impacts he has on the game.
Forsberg cites multiple hustle stats as indicators of Smart’s ability to influence the outcome on the game without consistently standing out on traditional box scores. He’s improved as a reserve point guard for the Celtics and is a jack of all trades on the defensive side of the ball. Recently, Forsberg claims, the 6’4″ guard even took turns matching up against the 7’2″ Kristaps Porzingis.
Properly gauging the value of players like Smart is one of the toughest things for general managers to do, especially as teams come calling ahead of the February 23 trade deadline. Currently second in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics will be pressured to make a dramatic move to position themselves better for an arguably inevitable showdown with the Cavaliers, but just as important will be that they don’t underestimate their current assets and set themselves backward.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Nearly every player on the Sixers has at least some trade value, says Bobby Marks of The Vertical. The analyst reviewed the rebuilding franchise in his recurring series leading up to the trade deadline. Still, Marks writes, even though the team has performed better than most expected, the front office would be wise to let their assets develop organically and not rush out to make a trade in haste.
- The Celtics are interested in making a deadline ahead of the trade deadline but nothing is imminent. “This time of year, nobody really has given their real price or what they will give you for the assets we have,” general manager Danny Ainge tells A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSN New England. “So we will wait and see.“
- Following a Friday night loss in which they gave up 131 points to Denver, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was critical of his starting lineup. “Look at the difference between the first group and the second. They play with effort,” Hornacek told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “They get after guys. A guy who got the ball, they get up on him. They help each other out. First group didn’t do that.”
- After yet another dramatic week in New York, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post suggests that Knicks fans revolt. The scribe cites baseball fans who vowed to stay away from the game after the 1994 lockout as inspiration but notes that following through on such ultimatums are often difficult.