BOSTON – Need be damned.
The Celtics already have a talented backcourt, but that didn’t stop them from taking the best player available Thursday. With the optimal fits and hyped superstars off the board, the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart with the sixth pick in the NBA Draft.
Smart, a combo guard out of Oklahoma State, brings the unstoppable scoring punch the Celtics desperately need. Despite him fitting in somewhere as a guard behind Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, Smart does provide a key set of skills Danny Ainge is seeking: dribbling and scoring the rock. Smart is ready to fit in wherever the team puts him.
"I think me being so versatile in college helped me to be able to play the two or one or whatever position the Celtics want me to play at the next level."
With Bradley being a restricted free agent, Smart allows the team the option to let Bradley walk if he receives an offer sheet too high for their taste, or contribute as a punishing sixth man to take over the game with the second unit. But Smart could end up resembling something close to Avery Bradley with a better handle and scoring touch.
In drafting Young, Ainge adds another player that can attack the rim and force the defense to collapse. With defenses pressing the perimeter relentlessly last season, Ainge is stockpiling players that can get through defenders and finish. Jeff Green, on rare occasion, was the only player on the roster that could do so.
Now the Celtics are on their way to establishing a team that can drive, kick and – eventually – shoot. But they aren’t getting there as quickly as most people would hope.