With Game 1 of the NBA Finals almost here, Warriors forward Draymond Green had nothing but positive things to say about Celtics guard Marcus Smart during his press conference on Wednesday.
It took Smart a few years to really grow into his role as a leader and elite defender, but he has really thrived under head coach Ime Udoka.
Clearly, Green has noticed just how much effort Smart puts into his preparation.
“Marcus Smart — I’ve been speaking on this a lot — I think people tend to forget, Marcus Smart’s No. 1 attribute or positive on him coming out of the draft was his leadership, and that he’s a winner and a true point guard," Green told reporters. "And the qualities that he has, especially on that side of the ball, are those of a leader. When you see him with the X’s and the O’s and teaching are those [qualities] of a point guard.
“I think he’s continued to grow into his leadership. I think there were times earlier in his career where most people wouldn’t know how to handle it. Then you end up getting a bad rap, and it’s like, ‘This guy’s doing too much of this,’ or ‘he’s doing too much of that.’ He’s continued to grow into the leader he’s become, and it’s been really good to watch."
Smart is averaging 15.5 points, 6.2 assists and 1.1 assists per game this postseason.
If the Celtics are going to take down the Warriors and claim their 18th championship, they'll need Smart to play at a high level.
Game 1 will tip off at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.