Friday, May 1, 2015

Smart finishes fifth in Rookie of the Year voting

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Boston Celtics point guard; Marcus Smart has finished fifth in the NBA's Rookie of the Year voting.

Smart received one second-place vote and three third-place votes for six total points among the 130 ballots cast by sports writers and broadcasters. Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins, who won the award, finished with 604 total points. Chicago's Nikola Mirotic (335 points), Philadelphia's Nerlens Noel (141) and Orlando's Elfrid Payton (79) all finished ahead of Smart.

Danny Ainge had nothing but high praise during his end of the season press conference on Thursday about his rookie putting in the hard-work and it showed in his improvements throughout the year.

"I think Marcus, he’s a great instinctive defender, but I think that he picked up the schemes and became an outstanding defender, got even better than he was immediately," Ainge said. "Offensively, I think he’s come a long way, too. I think that he’s getting more and more confident in his shooting and he’s unafraid of the moments. I think that everybody can see how the bigger the moment, the more he lights up." [ESPN Boston]

Smart was the sixth overall-pick in last year's draft and put up averages of 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game in 27 minutes. Smart started in 38 games while playing 67 games overall.

He shot 36.7 percent from the field (33.5 percent from 3). In the playoffs his shot jumped to 48.3 percent. It was his tenacity, defense and great hustle that stood out the most for Celtics fans this season. While not being intimated to guard the opposing team's best perimeter player at times, the rook held his own.

Though most of the team's ball handling duties were given to Evan Turner, when asked to, Smart did a good job of running the offense in spurts especially after the trade of Rajon Rondo.

Here's a look at Smart's game winner against Toronto from last month

Joel Pavón
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