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NBA scout believes Celtics will miss Marcus Smart in key area

Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart plays against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)AP

All the talk about the Celtics preseason has been about the new acquisitions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday — and for good reason. The C’s paid a hefty price for both difference-makers as they shook up their core significantly this summer.

But the Celtics undoubtedly lost pieces of the leadership puzzle this season, trading guys like Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III and Grant Williams. How the leadership structure looks like this season is something worth monitoring in the coming months. Notably, how the Celtics look like without their emotional leader in Smart, who often set the tone for the rest of the squad.

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In a piece by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, he spoke to NBA scouts about their thoughts on the Celtics. Here’s the excerpt from an anonymous scout on the Smart aspect — namely, his leadership:

“I think Smart especially is a guy that holds some of those other guys accountable when maybe Jaylen (Brown) is dribbling too much or not moving the ball or Jayson (Tatum) is doing the same thing. He is a guy that can get on them. Or at least he had the clout, the voice to tell them. I think they’ll definitely miss that.

“And then, Smart makes all the crazy plays. When they beat Philly in Game 6, on that Tatum three, no one ever talked about how great of a pass it was from Smart. Those types of plays. And they get some of that with Derrick White, I guess, but I don’t think it’s to the same level.”

Of course, there are other ways the Celtics can get some leadership this season. That will likely fall on guys like Tatum and Brown, who are the team’s best players. But the locker room has other veterans like Al Horford; Porzingis and Holiday can also fit into that mold as other longtime NBA players.