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No Respect, Part II: Marcus Smart in the forefront!

 The Celtics Marcus Smart may go his entire NBA career without getting his accomplishments to the  forefront. The recent Sports Illustrated cover may be the start of a turnaround.

Let's start with a comparison with the late Dennis Johnson, a player that was so damn good I place him at the starting point guard on my All-Time Celtics squad. By the way, DJ is accompanied on that Fab Five by John Havlicek (SG), Bill Russell (C), Larry Bird (SF) - and one of the following at PF: Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett or Dave Cowens - I just can't make up my mind.

I don't place Marcus at DJ's level - not quite. Dennis was a superb defender (6X All-Defensive First team) but was never able to cop that DPOY Trophy that Smart was able to earn. Dennis was also Finals MVP (1979) 3-Time Champion and 5-Time All-Star - all awards that have eluded Marcus thus far. Stats? Here are the 8th-season stats for both players:

Marcus: 12.1 PPG - 3.8 RPG - 5.9 APG - 1.7 SPG - .418 FG - .331 3s

DJ: 13.2 PPGT- 3.5 RPG - 4.2 APG - 1.2 SPG - .437 FG - .125 3s 

Smart takes four-of-the-six categories. Not bad for a guy that has taken so much flak over the seasons. I loved DJ. He adjusted his game in Boston to the play of the stars around him. Smart has done the same. Johnson was tagged as having "rocket launcher legs" that allowed him to soar over larger opponents. Marcus can do the same, but like DJ, often contains the athleticism to make key plays.

So nice job, SI, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown - placing Marcus Smart at the forefront of the SI cover! It's where The Wolverine belongs. He's earned it!


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