Marcus Smart, the Longest-Tenured Celtic, Signs Contract Extension
Marcus Smart’s most famous quote is, “I love Boston. Boston loves me.”
So, why wouldn’t he continue wearing the Green and White for as long as possible?
Smart will be doing so following Saturday’s announcement of his new contract extension with the Celtics. The two-time All-Defensive First Team performer spent the first seven years of his career with the franchise, and now he’s locked into a contract that would take him well over a decade with the team by the time it comes to an end.
Smart is entering into the final year of his current contract, which was signed during the 2018 offseason, before his extension kicks in for the 2022-23 season.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather play and no other fans I’d rather play in front of. I love Boston, and Boston loves me,” said Smart. “We’ve had some great moments and success in my time here, but there’s more to accomplish. I’m ready to put that Celtics jersey back on and get to work out on the Parquet with my teammates.”
Boston had good reason to seek an extension with Smart, and that reason extends far beyond his lockdown defense and his longstanding leadership within the organization. Yes, he is a game-changer at the defensive end who can defend any position at a high level. And yes, he’s a leader in the community who cherishes the opportunity to play for this historic franchise. But he’s a pretty darn good offensive player, too.
To recognize this, one must look past the shooting numbers – although Smart has shot a respectable 34.8 percent from long range over the course of the last three seasons while maxing out at 36.4 percent during the 2018-19 season.
Beyond the shooting, Smart has played at a high level for Boston’s offense. After the Celtics moved on from Kemba Walker, they’ll need him to continue that trend as he potentially steps in as the team’s new starting point guard.
Take the term “new” with a grain of salt, because Smart started 45 of his 48 games last season while spending 45 percent of his possessions as the team’s point guard, per basketball-reference.com. That percentage was by far his highest since his rookie season, when he spent 74 percent of his time at point guard.
New head coach Ime Udoka should find comfort in the fact that Smart will be around for a long time to supply a high level of offensive orchestration and output. Last season, Smart set new career highs in scoring (13.1 points per game), assists (5.7 APG), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.84-to-1), and offensive rating (114.2). He displayed very clearly that he capable of running an offense full-time while making sound decisions.
Truthfully, he has proven so throughout his career. Smart has logged an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.29-to-1 or better during six of his seven campaigns, and has never finished a season with a ratio that fell below 2-to-1.
Couple all of these skills together with his constant tenacity and energy and you’ll find a player who was built to play in Boston. It felt like destiny when Smart landed in the Celtics’ lap with the sixth overall pick in 2014. Now it’s official that their partnership will extend for years to come.