NBA legend Gary Payton sees himself in Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart had another fine performance for the Boston Celtics on Monday, as he helped his team to a 113-101 victory against the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden. The 25-year-old logged 12 points (on 4-of-8 shooting), two 3-pointers, five rebounds, eight assists, and three steals in 33 minutes off the bench.
Following the win, Smart had a chance to speak with Hall of Famer Gary Payton, who himself had nothing but good things to say about Smart. Payton even told Smart the Celtics guard reminds him so much of himself during his playing days:
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 14, 2020
That’s one heck of a compliment coming from one of the best defensive point guards in league history. Smart is a very vocal individual, but he was all ears listening to some valuable advice from Payton. The retired nine-time All-Star is as decorated as they come, and Smart was more than willing to take in all the knowledge The Glove was dropping on him.
Marcus Smart has been tremendous for the Celtics thus far, with the former sixth overall pick averaging a career-best 11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.5 steals while also connecting on 2.0 3-pointers (also a career high) per game. Injuries have gotten in his way, though, with Smart already missing nine out his team’s 38 games played this season. When healthy, however, Smart has been a crucial piece in head coach Brad Steven’s rotation.
Following Monday’s win, the C’s are now 27-11 and have overtaken the Miami Heat for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.