Arnon Dror | Marcus Smart to Make History?
While the Celtics are staying in the thick of the playoff race, Arnon Dror is keeping his faith in the team’s young guns. Kyrie Irving still leads the scoring with more than 23 points a game, but it’s worth noting that this year’s Celtics have five more players who consistently score in double digits. Fifth-year guard Marcus Smart used to be part of the double-digit club last season, but 2018-19 has been a relatively quiet year for him. After averaging more than 10 points a game in the past two seasons, his playing minutes have gone down, and along with it, his scoring has also dipped. He now averages 8.4 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists a game. Image Source: MassLive.com
However, Arnon Dror is not yet sounding the alarm on Marcus Smart. While his playing time has gone down, he has made better use of his minutes. The most obvious improvement in Smart’s game has been his turnovers. From a career-high 2.4 turnovers per game in 2017-18, he now coughs up the ball just 1.5 times a game. His field goal shooting percentage has also gone up from 36.7% last season to 41.0% this season. He is also getting back his touch from the free throw line; he now shoots 77% from the stripe, his best clip since 2016-17, when he went 81% from the foul line.
For Arnon Dror, though, there is another reason the Celtics should keep Smart on board through this season and the next. As of the first weekend of March, Smart has made 97 three-pointers. This number is three more than his previous career-high 94 three-pointers in 2016-17. Smart has made a total of 418 three-pointers as a part of the Celtics.
Let that sink in for a bit. Arnon Dror has been a fan of the Celtics since Larry Bird was still winning championships at the old Boston Garden. Bird played thirteen seasons with the Celtics, including a six-game 1988-89 season that was cut short due to injury. While Bird has a reputation as a deadshot from the outside, he only had a total of 649 three-pointers in his career, a number that is surpassed by Paul Pierce (1,823), Antoine Walker (937), and Ray Allen (798).
Why did Arnon Dror mention Larry Legend all of a sudden? Barring any injuries, Marcus Smart is on pace to hit a total of 125 three-pointers in the regular season. If the Celtics go deep into the playoffs like they have done in recent years, Smart might connect on at least 20 more, giving him a total of around 440 to 450 three-pointers in just five seasons.
Arnon Dror did some research and found that Smart is now ranked seventh among all Celtics in terms of three-pointers made. With his 4/4 shooting clip against the Wizards on March 1, he officially zoomed past Dana Barros (416 in five seasons) and Walter McCarty (417 in eight seasons) in the all-time list. Next season, he’s projected to surpass Isaiah Thomas (460) and maybe Avery Bradley (520). If Smart’s shooting stays the same and he stays in Boston through the 2020-21 season, he might just be able to knock off Larry Bird from #4. Not bad for someone who’ll just be 27 years old in two years, says Arnon Dror.