If you’re a Boston fan, you’re pretty used to Marcus Smart being a little… unorthodox.
It’s strange to see a 6’4″, 220-lb frame guarding each opponent’s best perimeter player, effortlessly stripping the rock out of guys’ hands, taking ugly but crucial charges, and hurling his body on the floor for loose balls. The dude is selfless, and he has guts – but this give-no-sh*ts-about-anything-but-winning attitude has occasionally led Smart to some controversy.
It’s not strange to see Smart getting T’d up (he’s been given 9 technicals and 2 flagrant this season), screaming at his assistant coaches, or throwing up questionable hail-mary’s at the end of quarters, regardless of his… subpar… field goal percentage.
We are all well-aware of the infamous Marcus Smart heave by now. But is this act becoming a little too hyped? My research suggests no.
I took a peak at who leads the NBA in attempted ‘heaves’ (via STATS SportVU, shots taken outside 40ft with 4 or less seconds left in the quarter) on the season, and sure enough, Smart was 2nd on the list, taking a back seat to Steph Curry.
Smart also sits amongst the top 3 guys in the league who are on the court the most often when the quarter-ending buzzer sounds. So – are we just more susceptible to noticing the heave because he’s on the floor during prime heave opportunities? Or is his heave becoming an art form, much like the Manu eurostep or the Dirk fadeaway?
I went ahead and picked my 6 favorite Marcus Smart heaves from this season. You be the judge.
6) The ‘I Think He Was Trying to Hit the Shot Clock Tho’
Down 20 with 1.5 seconds left in the 3rd? Who cares! Get Marcus the ball at 85ft so he can absolutely murder the shot clock.
5) The ‘Holy Crap, He Almost Made That’
Marcus in rare form with a fluid, two-handed, decently-timed heave.
4) The ‘From the Parking Lot’
The Spurs just hit a go-ahead three to end the 3rd quarter, but THERE’S STILL 0.4 SECONDS LEFT SAYS MARCUS.
3) The ‘Screw Everything I Was Ever Taught in Middle School’
At the end of every basketball workout with my dad growing up, we would do ‘count down’ shots. I would start at one end of the court, he would literally count down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”, and I would race from end-to-end and get a ‘game-winning’ shot off as the buzzer (or my dad’s impersonation of one) sounded. One of the first basic rules of thumb that you’re taught is that, as the clock is winding down, 1 dribble = 1 second. As a 13-year-old, I could make it from baseline to baseline in 5 seconds.
Fam – there is 4.8 seconds left when Marcus receives the inbound pass. His half-court airball would’ve gifted the Wizards at least 1 second if Olynyk didn’t draw the foul on the ‘rebound’. Any shot (even this one) has a better chance of going in than no shot, but for cripes’ sake – get to the rack!
2) The ‘A for Effort’
Similar to #3, this one is all-time. Not only is it one of the worst foul-drawing attempts I’ve ever seen, but he’s falling, horizontally, with 3 SECONDS left on the clock and still decides to chuck from 65ft.
1) The ‘I’ve Tried To Hate This Guy So Many Times But I Just Can’t’
I mean, look at this. It’s only the end of Q1, you’re up 2, and you’re still trying to optimize your inevitable heave by letting the ball bounce a few times before you touch it. For every instance that I’ve cursed Danny Ainge for keeping you around, there’s one like this that makes me never want to let you go.