Celtics guard Marcus Smart calls his defense ‘mediocre’ this season
The Boston Celtics are marred in a rough patch since the All-Star break going 5-5 and struggling at times to close games defensively. The team was thriving only a season ago at this time on their way to the NBA Finals, led defensively by Marcus Smart.
The reigning defensive player of the year continues to show the intensity that made him a terror for opposing guards. He recently got into a scuffle with Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young further showing his willingness to take on any challenge. Smart, however, isn’t impressed by his defensive performance, as he vented to reporters before Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s mediocre,” Smart said via the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “We all see it. I see it. It’s tough.”
“You don’t get the same calls as you probably would,” he added.
“It makes it tough for you as a defender — especially with a league that’s very highly, highly offensively oriented where everything is catered to the offensive player. It’s hard to play defense, and especially coming off a DPOY stint. Everything you do is more critiqued.”
The league has seen an increase in scoring this year, with the latest rule change last offseason eliminating take fouls that usually stopped fastbreaks.
Smart dove further into his theory, providing an example of offensive players flopping more than the traditionally penalized defenders.
“There’s no advantage,” Smart said. “Soon as you put your body on the offensive player, and all you can do is do it like that, it’s a foul on you, hands fly.”
“It comes to the flopping aspect on the defensive end where you gotta sell it,” suggested the Flower Mound native. “Just like an offensive player who’s trying to sell a call on offense, you’re trying to sell it on defense because, even more on the defensive end, you have no advantage. Everything’s to the offensive guy.”
Smart credited the play of his teammates like center Robert Williams III, whose defensive ability in the paint stalls defenders that get past the perimeter.
The current road trip will determine more about the team’s identity heading into the postseason.
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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire