Skip to main content

Marcus Smart's defense of The Greek Freak - a Dave Cowens comparison

Boston Celtics guard, Marcus Smart, was instrumental in Team USA's 69-53 victory over Greece on Saturday. Coach Gregg Popovich assigned Marcus to cover Giannis Antetokounmpo, and despite The Greek Freak's production (23 points, 13 rebounds), he was pestered by Smart for much of the game.


Giannis' length, mobility and frame make him a devastating inside threat, but most rival coaches are more-than-happy to give him the outside shot. At 6'11" and a solid 242 pounds, the initial take for most would be that Smart, at 6'4" and 220 pounds, would be over matched. Wrong! Marcus' coverage of The Freak is reminiscent of the 6'8' Dave Cowens defending the Milwaukee Bucks 7'2" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But for frenetic perimeter defense on Oscar Robertson, and a diving-hit-the-floor-ball-retrieve by Dave, take a look at the 1:40 mark of the video below:


I have argued in the past that Smart's strength and low center of gravity allow him to very effectively guard much taller opponents - at least the ones that have trouble shooting over him from distance. Semi Ojeleye's smothering coverage of Giannis the past two seasons worked nicely for the same reasons.

Why is this important? The Milwaukee Bucks are ranked ahead of the Celtics in all of the 2019-20 projections I have seen. There is a high probability the two teams will meet in the post-season. Stifling The Greek Freak's scoring and rebounding will be critical for any opponent that faces them. Pop putting Smart on Giannis, with occasional triple-teaming, never allowed Antetokounmpo to get untracked. Smart proved quick enough to counter most of The Freak's moves, and strong enough to body him to keep him away from the hoop. And it all worked.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Elm Street Nightmare

 A true-and-suspenseful horror tale of haunting, homicides and the hunt for triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante - as told by the cops that were there By Lt. Thomas Lane (Ret.) and Off. Steven Bezanson (Ret.) Daniel Laplante - cold, calm, clever, calculating- Photo: YouTube   Elm Street  surfaces on four occasions in the Laplante saga: 1.) He  resided on Elm Street  in Townsend, Massachusetts 2.) He  kidnapped a woman  at gunpoint on  Elm Street, Pepperell , Massachusetts 3.) He was arrested and transported to Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Elm Street in Concord . 3.) He was  tried, convicted   and sentenced for the murders at  Superior Court , corner of  Elm Stree t and Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. When evil and cleverness reside in the same mind, the stage is often set for true horror. Such was the case with triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante . As a 16-year old , he quickly transitioned from: Minor thefts and breaking into homes To: Taunting and threatening a father and

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

Using trade exception to acquire Aaron Gordon needs consideration

The Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon was taken fourth-overall in the 2014 NBA draft, two spots before Boston picked Marcus Smart at #6. I felt at the time that Danny Ainge would have taken Gordon with the sixth pick if the 6'8" power forward was still on the board. Well now, with a $28.5 million trade exception in his hands, it may be time to consider adding the super-athletic wing. Here's why: Brad Stevens feels you can't have enough mid-sized wings Brad Stevens does not favor the "little guys" because they often get mis-matched on defense by taller opponents. He also is not fond of the old-school, big centers. In his mind, they just can't be effective on his switching, perimeter defensive strategies. Gordon's salary fits the trade exception Aaron is set to earn $18.1 million this season and $16.4 million in the 2021-22 season. His salary was front-loaded, and that relatively-low $16.1 million figure kicks in when Jayson Tatum's max contract goes