Boston Celtics: 3 players with the most to prove during the 2021-22 season

Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Boston Celtics
Celtics point guard Marcus Smart (36) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Marcus Smart

You could honestly make a case that Marcus Smart should be number one on this list, but you will find out why he isn’t in a little bit. Smart got his big money extension this offseason. Now it’s time for him to prove he’s worth the significant financial investment the Boston Celtics front office made in him.

Playing in an increased role due to Kemba Walker’s injury issues throughout the season, Smart made virtually no strides in his offensive game, and arguably regressed as a defender. He was clearly playing through injuries throughout the season, but the typical product of play we were used to seeing from Smart just wasn’t there last season.

Even though he wasn’t a free agent, it felt like this offseason would determine Smart’s future with the team. Trade rumors swirled all offseason, and even now continue to swirl. Despite that, Smart inked a four year, $77 million extension this summer, ensuring he will spend the foreseeable future in Boston.

Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of the deal, but that’s besides the point now. The Celtics are banking on Smart being able to step up and take charge of this offense as their starting point guard. It’s a huge risk, especially considering how last season went for Smart.

Not only does Smart have to prove he’s worth his extension, he also has to prove he’s worthy of being the Celtics new point guard. That will require him to improve his playmaking skills and reduce the amount of wild shots he takes throughout the course of the game. Shots need to be created for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and now the burden of that falls on Smart’s shoulders, which is a relatively frightening prospect in my eyes.

Either way, Smart is entering one of the most pivotal seasons of his career. Despite public opinion of the fiery guard being divided, the Celtics front office blocked out the noise and let Smart know they believe in him. Now it’s time for him to prove them right, otherwise things could get ugly fast.