By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Marcus Smart hears the critics who think he shoots too much. And Marcus Smart doesn't care what they think.
The feisty Celtics guard is never afraid to put up a shot, and though he wasn't seen as a three-point shooter when he entered the NBA, he hasn't been timid from behind the arc over the last seven years. It has certainly led to some frustrating evenings for Celtics fans, but overall, Smart hasn't made people want to pull their hair out as much as usual over the first 16 games of the season.
But that's just part of the total package with Marcus Smart. If you love him for his defense and all-in attitude, you have to live with his shot selection. And he is kinda living up to his promise to take better shots this season, though it hasn't been an every game thing for No. 36.
Smart's three-point bids are actually down this season, from 6.6 attempts last season to 5.3 this season, but that hasn't stopped his detractors from voicing their displeasure with his shot selection. And they do have some ammo recently, with Smart averaging 12.2 shots overall for the month of January.
But as Smart so eloquently put on Wednesday, he doesn't give a flying fig what they think.
"Been doing the same thing I've been doing. I just continue to shoot the ball and shoot with confidence, and not give an eff what people say," he told reporters from San Antonio on Wednesday. "I get [crap] a lot but who cares? Just go out and continue to do it. My teammates trust me and I know what I can do."
Overall, Smart is attempting 11.1 field goals per game this year, which is just a tick lower than the 11.4 he attempted last season. He's shooting at a better clip, knocking down nearly 40 percent (39.8) compared to his 37.5 percent last season. He's obviously had more opportunities to shoot too, starting in place of the injured Kemba Walker to start the season, and his January increase makes sense considering Boston played five games without Jayson Tatum. Smart attempted 14 shots per game during Tatum's absence, including a season-high 19 shots last week in a loss against Philly.
The biggest knock on Smart has always been his reliance on the outside shot, especially given how good he can be at getting to the basket. He has the ability to bulldoze his way to the hoop, but only 38 of his 166 shots this season have been from five feet or less. He's also been a pretty good mid-range shooter this year, knocking down 11 of his 14 attempts from 15-19 feet away. It just further adds to the enigma that is Marcus Smart.
Smart's attempts figure to drop, with Jayson Tatum returning to the lineup and Kemba Walker taking over at point. Just don't expect him to pass up an open look, or the occasional unopen look.
And if you'd like to lodge a complaint about his shooting, just know it's not going to do a thing to change who Marcus Smart is on a nightly basis.
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