3. Marcus Smart can be a defensive difference-maker
Guards who only shoot 32% from three struggle to be offensive pluses in the playoffs. Fortunately for Smart, his ability to guard a variety of players one-on-one more than makes up for his offensive shortcomings.
Smart’s best asset in a playoff series is his willingness to doggedly defend the opponent’s best guard. He’s a great matchup against point guards and he also possesses the strength to hold up against most shooting guards and a lot of small forwards. Even on the rare occasions that Smart can force a stop, he gives his team a boost by draining energy from the other team’s offensive superstar.
Smart should see a lot of team as the nominal point guard in big Celtics’ lineups during the postseason. Dennis Schroder is too weak defensively to deploy in high-leverage situations. Giving his minutes to Smart will only increase Boston’s defensive effectiveness.
Smart needs to keep his emotions in check to give his team the maximum output during the postseason but he’s matured nicely at this stage of his career. He won’t light up the score sheet but his ability to torment opposing guards is a huge plus for Boston in any potential playoff series.