The Boston Celtics are currently a dumpster fire and the frustrations within the locker room are starting to leak out into the public, thanks in no small part to these comments from Marcus Smart following an embarrassing loss to the Bulls on Monday night in Boston. A game in which the C’s blew a 19-point second half lead:
“Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen,” Smart said. “Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball.”
Is Marcus correct in his assessment? Of course he is. He said what everyone is thinking. Is this the right way to handle a disagreement with teammates? Definitely not. There are few players in the history of the NBA who have the credentials and the respect to publicly berate the best players on their own team, and Marcus Smart is certainly not one of them. I can’t imagine Jaylen and Jayson are thrilled about being thrown under the by a player who’s only two and three years older than them, is far less talented and accomplished, and is also doing nothing about Boston’s blatant lack of ball movement. This was bold criticism from a guy who’s averaging 8.8 points and 4 assists on 29% shooting.
It’s one thing for a coach to call out his players and hold them accountable, as Ime Udoka has unfortunately had to do multiple times already in this young season. But players calling out other players publicly is a sign of an extremely dysfunctional locker room. Smart is undoubtedly a valuable asset at times but his willingness to be confrontational with teammates shows an inflated level of self-importance that can be detrimental to a team’s chemistry. As much as I love Marcus’ effort and tenacity, and as accurate as his statements were, he needs to know better than to air out all of his thoughts to the press. That’s not the way to strengthen a relationship and build trust, which this team is clearly lacking right now.