Celtics’ Smart willing to accept role off the bench

The Celtics played great when Marcus Smart was out.
Brian Babineau

Celtics' point guard Marcus Smart returned to action on Saturday night, in Boston's big win over the New York Knicks. He scored six points in 13 minutes, including a big three late in the game. 

But how does Smart impact Boston's rotation in the big picture? Here's a closer look, courtesy of MassLive's Jay King:

The starting guards, Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, have developed real chemistry together, and it doesn't make much sense to break them up. 

But, on the other hand, Smart is supposed to be the franchise's most valuable asset, and developing him should be one of Boston's biggest priorities.

What will Brad Stevens do? Only time will tell. 

The first unit has been good without Smart, notching a +4.7 net rating that is all the more impressive when remembering all of Boston's slow starts last season. Stevens could try to keep that success going and hope Smart can boost the bench. “That (decision is) not up to me,” Smart said. “Those guys have been playing very well with Isaiah and Avery in the starting lineup so I don't want to mess anything up and keep the rhythm going. And if it means I have to come off the bench for this team to keep winning games then I'll come off the bench.” For the sake of reference, the starting lineup with Smart instead of Bradley has a +0.9 rating, but has only played 66 minutes, a small sample size. Regardless of who starts, one major issue has persisted since February: the Celtics offense tumbles when Thomas sits.

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