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Hopes for a more Dennis Johnson-like season for Marcus Smart

 Both the late Dennis Johnson and Marcus Smart are not generally thought of as elite athletes, but both have shown Celtics glimpses of vertical leaps and quick moves that seemed off the scale. There are other comparisons.


DJ was such an astounding defender, Magic Johnson labeled him as one of his toughest opponents. And no present NBA player wants to be guarded by The Wolverine. But now that the buzz of possible Marcus Smart trades have faded, he may want to watch some footage of Dennis in action.


Red Auerbach was right. You can't turn a poor-to-mediocre shooter into a dead-eye marksman, K. C. Jones and Don Chaney being Exhibits A and B. Exhibit C would be Marcus. His 38% career shooting from the field and 33% on three-pointers needs to rise. 

DJ shot 44% on field goals - but also a putrid 17% on treys - but to his credit, he rarely took the long shot. On point production, Johnson averaged 14.1 PPG, while Smart is at 13.1 PPG. They both show up with three or four boards per game, and their assists per game are also close (5.0 APG for DJ, 4.2 APG for Smart). But DJ upped his assists with the Celtics, instead feeding the BIG-3 of Bird, McHale and Parish.

So the numbers tell the tale. Better marksmanship and shot selection - plus more assists from Marcus will be one of the keys to Celtics success this season. I predict it will happen. 

DJ picked up his second and third Title rings with the Celtics, and Marcus still awaits his first. There are many similarities between the two dogged defenders. Wouldn't it be great to see Marcus Smart equal Dennis Johnson on Championships-won?


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