Sunday, May 31, 2020

Boston Celtics Red Auerbach believed NBA shooters were born – not made. Marcus Smart may be testing that theory.

Many critics of Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart still don’t realize that his shooting percentages generally improved to a respectable level last season. For his first four seasons, his field goal percentage hovered between 35%-and-37%, and his 3-point average varied from 25% to 33%. Not so last season. In 80 games, his FG% went up to 42.2% and his accuracy on treys was at 36.4%.

In his bio of Celtics marksman, Sam Jones, 10 Times a Champion, author Marc C. Bodanza wrote the following quote from Red on his stance that shooters are born, not made:

It’s like a Don Chaney or KC Jones. No matter how much we worked with them or how much they tried – and both of them had willingness to learn – there was no way in the world we could have made them shoot like Bill Sharman or Sam Jones. It simply wasn’t there.

 

Sam and KC Jones formed a solid back court

KC Jones was a good example. He shot 34.4% from the field (there was no 3-point shot then) in college and 38.7% in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. I watched KC perform at Boston Garden many times, and I remember him as a dogged defender, great ball-handler and skilled passer. But even his free throw shooting never improved. It actually got worse in the NBA. He shot 72% on freebies in college and only 63% in the pros.

Sam Jones came into the League as a top-notch shooter and averaged a career 45.6% from the field. Sam was a natural shooter (per Bodanza from his book):

Red understood that some basketball talent was natural, just couldn’t be taught. Sam (Jones) was a natural shooter.

(Boston, MA 12/25/17) Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) dribbles down court in the fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics take on the Washington Wizards at the TD Garden in Boston on Monday, December 25, 2017. Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki

I have written in the past that I would like to see Smart’s field goal percentage up to at least 40%. He accomplished that last season, coming away with that 42.2% accuracy in addition to 36.4% on threes. That wasn’t an accident. He had to have worked on his shot.

It is a mighty small sample, but he shot 2-of-3 (66.7%) on field goals and 1-of-2 (50%) on 3-pointers in Team USA’s loss to Australia. And 80 games-played last season is a significant sample size. Marcus may be testing Red’s theory on shooters being born – not made. But really, Marcus Smart doesn’t exactly fit any prescribed formula in any category. He is truly one-of-a-kind.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

Advertisements
Tags: , , , , ,

Related Article

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

About Author

%d bloggers like this: