When the Memphis Grizzlies opted to partake in a multi-team trade with the Boston Celtics this summer to land veteran guard Marcus Smart, the consensus reaction seemed to be overwhelmingly positive, with some going as far as to suggest his addition to the rotation could be “scary” for the rest of the association to deal with.
Now, with just under a month remaining until he kicks off his Grind City tenure with a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the excitement surrounding their new $76 million man’s arrival is still quite prevalent.
Already, in just a few short months it seems he has made his presence felt within the organization and has formulated individual bonds with his new cohorts.
Head coach Taylor Jenkins is also quite enamored with Smart’s arrival in Memphis and recently discussed with NBA.com that he’s “super-thrilled” to see his on-and-off-court intangibles being showcased whilst wearing the blue, navy, and yellow threads.
Taylor Jenkins believes Marcus Smart can take Grizzlies to ‘next level’
"“[I’m] super-thrilled to be welcoming Marcus Smart to the group,” Jenkins said. “Elite player, elite leader, elite competitor. Adding him, I think, is going to take our group to the next level. Excited to get him acclimated and up to speed, but he’s been fully engaged with his teammates throughout the summer, which has been cool to see, building those relationships.”"
Be it when in action on the hardwood or stationed on the sidelines, Smart is a proven leader with a track record of aiding in team success throughout his soon-to-be 10-year NBA career.
Now heading into year one with the Grizzlies, the seasoned guard understands that this particular attribute is something he’s going to need to hone in on for the betterment of Jenkins’ talented yet young rotation.
Aside from his coveted mentorship, Smart will also be looked to as a replacement option for Ja Morant at the starting one position for the first 25 games of the regular season as the superstar serves out his league-issued suspension.
Luckily for the Grizzlies, he has ample experience thriving in this type of role as well, as he’s sported impressive per-game averages of 12.2 points, 6.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals over the last three seasons whilst predominantly serving as Boston’s primary floor general.
Be it due to his high-energy, two-way productivity within the lineup when playing or his innate heart-and-soul mentality, coach Jenkins seems to be champing at the bit while waiting to see just how much better a guy like Smart can make this ball club.