18+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists, and 5+ steals. Marcus Smart has put up that type of statline not once, but twice in the last seven days. First against Portland, and then again last night against the 76ers (although the ‘5+ steals’ label doesn’t do justice to his career-high, 8-steal performance). It’s an incredible line to be putting up for Smart, but just how incredible might blow your mind.
According to basketballreference.com, Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Fat Lever, and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only players to have put up a statline of 18+, 5+, 5+, 5+ more than once in their entire career! Out of those players, Barkley was the only one to ever put it up twice in one week! Not only was every single one of those players an All-Star at some point, but 3 of them won MVP awards. If you include Garnett and Webber, 4 will be hall of famers.
Although many in Celtics nation had already written off the #6 overall pick, (some even saying Terry Rozier was a better player), Marcus has been proving his doubters wrong. He’s shown steady improvement in his game all season long, and has been playing with more confidence every game. Ever since December when Brad expressed his confidence in Marcus running the offense, Smart has started to really show the type of NBA player he is capable of being. Certainly that list puts Marcus is in some extraordinary company, but this is not a fluke, this is the type of player Marcus had the potential to become coming out of college, and this month he’s been an unstoppable force.
This month, Marcus has been averaging 13.8 points, 3.3 steals, 4.4 assists, and 4.1 rebounds. On the surface, those numbers look just ok, just like Smart’s games may look just ok to the average person. However, only 4 players have ever averaged a statline like that in a single season. Their names were Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Michael Ray Richardson, and Alvin Robertson. Again, all of the players listed area All-Stars, and 2 are probably in everyone’s top 5 for greatest players of all time.
Again Marcus pops up in historic company. Let me give you some advice: Don’t dismiss it. If a player is constantly popping up in historic company like this, it’s not a fluke. I’m not saying Marcus is headed for GOAT status, but these numbers clearly indicate he’s on his way to being an All-Star caliber player. He’s already shown his winner’s mentality by shutting down Paul Millsap, holding him scoreless after he had dropped 40 on all other Celtics defenders, despite being a point guard guarding a power forward. Most teams try to get that matchup on a switch and the Celtics just put Smart on him. Now he’s putting up the numbers to pair with the confidence. If Marcus puts it all together consistently, he will be an NBA All-Star one day.
How does this all shake out? I have no idea. We have Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, I.T., Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and another Brooklyn pick projected to be a star guard. While Smart’s talent looks like it’s developing into something special, his opportunity seems to be slowly slipping away. If Marcus is going to one day develop into an NBA All-Star, he might not have the minutes to do so in that environment. So I’ll leave you with this:
Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, a 2018 Brooklyn pick, 2019 Clippers pick, 2019 Grizzlies pick
WHO SAYS NO?
(Only valid after 2017 NBA season. Conditions: We get the #1 pick in the 2017 draft. We don’t win the title this year)
p.s. I’m just kidding about the trade stuff
p.p.s. A little…