Marcus Smart looks back

Every player and coach has a what if after approach.

And on Tuesday, the second day of his Young Game Changers basketball clinic in Westford, Marcus Smart had a few from his private clinic.

“For me, I hope Rob (Williams) doesn’t tear my meniscus. I hope I don’t screw my ankle to where I have trouble playing and had to put an ankle brace in. I hope we don’t run out of gas,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t need surgery, just rest. “Obviously that streak we went through to get to the finals was so brutal, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. You hate finding your lessons in defeat, but sometimes you have to see the rain before the rainbow. But the things I lay in bed thinking about She’s our execution. We’ve had so many damned coups, man, it was ridiculous. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last two series. We flirted with her and finally backfired and bit our butts.

“I’m proud of the heart we showed. I’m proud of the way we fought. Early in the season, if you had told us he would be two games away from winning the NBA Finals in 2022, I would have laughed at you. I would take it. We obviously have a lot to learn.” Of it. We are unsatisfied. But being able to savor this is a blessing in itself, because most people have long careers and never taste it or make it there. It sure hurts, but it is something we must learn from and try to take advantage of if the opportunity returns in our way.

“I have moments where it’s late at night and I can’t sleep and suddenly I’m thinking about those games and what we could have done differently. But it’s just moments.”

And now, on the eve of free agency season and trade rumours, Smart isn’t surprised to see his name spread across social media as the most likely Celtic trade. At this point for the 28-year-old guard, that’s the unspoken part of his job description — the part that goes beyond social media, anyway.

“At this point, I’m going into my ninth year. Every year, my name is in the conversations, and I’m still here. I’m still the tallest Celtic player in terms of position. So for me I take it as a compliment. It means that your value is very high and if your name is spoken for, people will They want you. But I don’t really care. I know what I bring to the table, that’s what I’m focused on, what I bring to this team. We’ll find out everything else. Brad (Stevens) is great at what he does and he’s going to figure out the right pieces to make sure we’re going in the right direction.”

Smart did not take much time to think. In addition to his annual basketball clinic in Flower Mound, TX and Westford’s New Mills complex—few, if any, other NBA players include responsibility training in the curriculum—Smart has made two appearances in Las Vegas on behalf of Puma.

After sitting down to sign autographs and take photos with a long line of campers—everyone from first graders to high school players attended—Smart said it was one of those rare occasions he could actually “sit”.

When asked about Celtics coach Ime Udoka’s desire to get back on the hunt, including helping out on the hiring front once the free agency kicks in on June 30, Smart acknowledged that it would help in some way, too.

“I think for us, we have a lot of strength. It’s just finding the balance for us. It’s kind of hard to tell you what we need when we just got to the finals.” “Now, obviously we might need something. At this moment, I couldn’t tell you what this is. I’m sure Brad and his staff will do a good job finding what we need and trying to get it. If not, try to Do everything we can with what we have.

“I’d like to[help recruit players]but that doesn’t concern me,” Smart said. “I’m here to play basketball. I’d like to get some input, but I still have to go out to get myself ready. That’s my main focus. But I’d like to get some input. I’ve spoken to Brad. We haven’t talked extensively, but the relationship I have with Brad.” Very powerful, so I’m sure if you call him, we can have those conversations.”

Although Smart said he’s not thinking of anyone in particular, he believes that after the World Cup, the Celtics should be a prime destination for veteran players who want to score for a title chance.

“I hope so. Over the years we’ve kind of gotten a bad rep in Boston for free agents,” he said. “This year we’ve opened a lot of people’s eyes to what we can do, and how that team really is. We’re a team. Everyone is one. Not everyone is for themselves.” Everyone for each other, and I think that probably opened the eyes of a lot of people, maybe I could try it in Boston. We’ll see. I certainly hope so.”

Smart’s self-belief has never been stronger after a season in which he became the first guard since Gary Payton in 1996 to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, and lead a team to the NBA Finals as a springboard. .

“I think I proved a little bit of everything,” he said. “I’ve heard talk about not having a real point guard, and this and that, and they need a head guard. We’ve had star point guards and all those guards, however the so-called non-point guard is the only one that led them to the finals. That’s right there He says enough is enough. I don’t need to say too much really. I think everyone finally sees the person I am and what I can really do.”

His message to Jason Tatum, after the latter’s struggles in the finals, is to maintain self-confidence as well.

“He’s a 24-year-old,” Smart said. “But he’s young. I just tell him my story constantly. I’ve had eight years in this league and it took eight years to finally get the position of the goalkeeper. You come in and you’re given the keys right away. So there’s a lot of pressure you can feel, but all the pressure isn’t. You know what you’re doing.

“You’ve been doing this all your year and you know exactly what you’re doing. Just keep growing. Don’t worry about what other people say, because you’ll have people who love and hate you. One thing is that they talk about you, and that’s all that matters. They’ll talk about whether you’re doing the right thing. Or you do wrong. Just go out there and play man and don’t worry about anyone else. At the end of the day, if you fail, they’re the ones to tell you see, I told you. But when you’re high, those are the ones who will be on your nails. But When you fail, they will go too. Don’t worry about that, because they don’t care about your life. Just go out there and be you.”

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