Being the leader that he is, Marcus Smart took time out of his weekend to shout out a few of his Boston Celtics teammates. Unsurprisingly, Jayson Tatum was quickly given his flowers — and rightfully so. The two-time All-Star recently tied Larry Birds’ franchise record by dropping 60 points in a game where he spearheaded a historical 32-point comeback victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
However, Tatum’s brilliance is obvious and none of us really need a Marcus Smart tweet to further drive that notion home. This is why Smart made it a point to focus most of his energy on a far more unheralded teammate.
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Marcus Smart: Aaron Nesmith Has Been ‘Unreal’
With injuries striking the Celtics’ rotation, Aaron Nesmith has seen his usage skyrocket over recent games, most recently logging 30-plus minutes in back-to-back contests. His efforts have clearly not gone unnoticed as the Vanderbilt product has Smart singing his praises.
— marcus smart (@smart_MS3) May 1, 2021
Nesmith’s Work Ethic & Hustle Setting Him Apart
When Boston selected Nesmith No. 14 overall in the draft, many projected he’d have a chance to make his presence felt initially with his shot-making abilities. Instead, the player readily touted as the “best shooter” in his draft class, has made waves with his gritty, peddle to the floor hustle and effort.
“So, I guess we kind of (expletive) this one up, right?” an Eastern Conference scout said of their evaluation of Nesmith, viathe Boston Sports Journal. “No, seriously. I’m happy for him because it seems he has found a role with those guys now. It’s not the role we thought it would be or the role the Celtics thought it would be, but give him credit, he’s figured out a way to get on the floor which is huge for a rookie.”
The month of April just came to an end, in which the Celtics captured a record of 11-5 (fifth-best in the NBA)
“I said this the other day: He’s got an unbelievable work ethic, and he plays very hard,” head coach Brad Stevens said of his rookie wing following a recent victory over the Charlotte Hornets. “Again, he’s on the upper end of both of those. I know everybody throws around those things that everyone has, but he’s on the upper end of both of those.”
“I’d say the part that has been the most impressive to me over the last two games has been the fact that a guy can go from not playing that much from a conditioning standpoint and play those long of stretches as hard as he did,” Stevens added. “Again, that speaks to his work ethic on off days. It speaks to his preparation throughout the season.”
Averaging approximietely 13.5 mpg over his first 36 games, the 21-year-old has seen that number increase by 17 mpg over the Celtics’ past two games, both of which have been wins — coincidence? Maybe, but maybe not.
“He plays as hard as he can for as long as he’s out there, and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” Jayson Tatum said of Nesmith. “We need that from him and we appreciate it.”