According to former NBA/college basketball coach and analyst Avery Johnson, the Boston Celtics are not in good hands with Marcus Smart in the offensive driver’s seat. In a speech on CBS Sports HQ, Johnson suggested the Cs trade for the 2020 first-round draft pick (No. 13 overall) and current New Orleans Pelicans point guard Kira Lewis Jr. and Smart to another position as point guard offset.
The Alabama graduate was exclusively a reserve guard during his career in the bayou, hence Johnson’s justification for replacing the acting C-level general, who won Defensive Player of the Year honors in his first season as a point guard, with someone on the position that has never started a game at the NBA level is confusing.
Confusing until you realize the confirmation was made by Crimson Tide’s former coach via a man he recruited to Tuscaloosa.
This was Johnson’s Smart Slander/Lewis Jr. trade proposal:
“If you look at the Boston Celtics, especially when Marcus Smart is their full-time point guard, he’s more of a combo guard who can play 2nd place, he can play 3rd place. When they have to lean on him as much as they’ve been leaning on him… I don’t think that’s good when it comes to realizing their full potential. So I’d suggest a guy like Kira Lewis…”
Okay, before we go any further, the Houdini has to ask: What reality is Avery Johnson living in? How on earth is a 21-year-old point guard, who Johnson points out is recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture last December, is the answer for a position where the current starter has more than doubled him in assists per game for has given her career?
That was an unfathomably shameless plug. A team that missed two games of an NBA championship would never consider handing over the keys of offense to a reserve that has major surgery behind it.
Anyhow, his explanation added context, but still doesn’t justify such a bold claim:
“Marcus Smart is more of a fastball, Kira is more of a curveball, a fast young player who can move the floor up and down. They need a little more of someone who can make up for Marcus Smart’s weaknesses…”
Before we proceed, it’s important to note that to state that any of Smart’s weaknesses could be offset by a player with a track record like Lewis Jr.’s is simply disrespectful and almost calls for an apology to the eight-year Cs veteran.
point made. Let’s recap this crazy guess:
“Kira can drive to the basket, penetrate, he has a nice 3-point shot. I just think he can bring the speed and rush to Marcus Smart’s rush…”
Johnson really went out there and hyped the six-foot-tall guard’s 3-point shooting — which peaked at 36% during Lewis Jr.’s sophomore season at Alabama under Johnson’s head coaching predecessor Nate Oats. At the pro level, it has so far averaged 29.8% beyond the arc.
Lewis Jr. is by no means a chump. He could very well find the right system and excel one day. The product from Meridianville, Alabama, thrived under Oats enough to make it a first-round draft pick just two years ago.
This was a case of homerism by the former Lewis Jr. head coach being unfair to the pro as a third-year man.
The Boston Celtics snagged another Alabama point guard, NBA draft pick JD Davison, in 2022
JD Davison was not Kira Lewis Jr.’s success story under Nate Oats’ stewardship. Davison’s stocks plummeted after a first season inappropriate for a 5-star label bestowed on him in high school’s 2021-22 .
Luckily, Boston Celtics and Co. President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens didn’t let him sneak through the cracks and got a steal in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft.