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Marcus Smart is everything the Celtics could have expected him to be on offense...which isn't especially good.
The No. 6 pick struggled mightily during the Celtics' meltdown against the Pacers on Monday, shooting just 3-of-15 from the floor in over 27 minutes of action. He had some nifty dimes—four total—but his perimeter-scoring acumen is beyond raw.
Just like his first summer-league game, Smart didn't actively avoid the three-point line. While that's good in theory—since he'll have to shoot threes and jump shots in general if he's to play alongside Rajon Rondo—he made just 1-of-5 threes and is now shooting a paltry 10 percent from deep over the course of two games.
When he gets into the lane, he goes from zero to determined and explosive in a split second. But then in another split second, his mindset appears to plummet into confusion and hesitancy. The Celtics need him to maintain his offensive aggression, especially considering more of his scoring opportunities will be borne out of effort until he develops a consistent jumper.
This is unfortunately the second time in two games he's labored through and looked uncomfortable within offensive sets. He shot just 2-of-8 from the floor in 28 minutes of action against the Miami Heat on Saturday.
“First half, I was a little nervous, a little bit,” Smart said Saturday, per The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes. “It was my first pro game with a new group of guys. It was a little nerve-racking.”
During that game, he was, at least, able to make his presence felt on defense. This time around, he looked out of sync on that end. The aggression was there, but the execution was not and he continued to commit fouls in volume (four).
Rocky starts are par for the course this early into NBA tenures, so we can't call Smart's early trials red flags. His offensive progression, however, is something to watch. The Celtics have a lot riding on it.