Marcus Smart of the Celtics has a message for critics of his ability to protect points

If the Boston Celtics want to be a serious contender, they may need to find a key goalkeeper in the playmaking industry to pair with Jason Tatum and Jaylene Brown.

If you ask Marcus Smart, they already have one.

Celtic’s longest-serving team took over the team’s starting point guard this season after the departure of Kemba Walker, and the results have been mixed: Smart’s assists per game have been reduced from last year (5.3 compared to 5.7), with Boston holding second place. Ranked 20th in the NBA (107.7 points per game) with a walker record of 25-25.

The Celtics’ offensive team struggles have led to speculation about Brad Stevens moving to Smart before the NBA’s February 10 trade deadline. But the 27-year-old believes he is fully capable of being a captain for this team.

Forsberg: Time to make a decision for the Celtics and Marcus Smart

“When I first got out of college, I was a starting guard,” Smart said in a recent interview with Athletic’s Jay King. “That’s what I played. So it’s funny to hear people say I’m not a goalkeeper. In high school, point guards led my team to two state championships. It’s funny to hear people say I’m not a top guard.

“…I’ve been doing this all my career and now people want to talk about what I do more. It’s like, ‘No, I’ve been doing it.'” “You guys finally get to see more of him because (unlike) in years past, I don’t come off the bench, I don’t play 20 minutes and I play goalkeeper now.”

From Smart’s point of view, the Celtics are at their best when in facilitator mode.

Boston is 12-6 this season when Smart attempted under 10 shots and 10-13 when he put in over 10. Points in three shot attempts but made seven assists and was a plus 36.

However, C’s have traditionally pursued more offensively point guards such as Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. With a clever shooting of just 30.7% of the 3-point range this season, you can prove that Boston needs a facilitator with more attacking strokes to draw attention away from Tatum and Brown.

Smart seems to be well aware of that novel, and uses commercial grumbling as motivation.

“All my life I’ve been suspicious,” Smart said. “I’m here. I’m still there.” “And that’s just kind of how it was for me. I always bet on myself. And I love this team, this organization.”

If Smart is still in Boston on February 10, we’ll have proof that the feeling is mutual.

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