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Marcus Smart reflects on rookie season with Celtics

Marcus Smart was not satisfied with being named second-team all-rookie.
Marcus Smart was not satisfied with being named second-team all-rookie.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

In addition to the story that ran in Friday’s Globe, Celtics guard Marcus Smart had some other interesting thoughts. Among other things, he talked about defending LeBron James, the Celtics taking the next step, Brad Stevens and James Young.

On being named second-team all-rookie: “I think I got snubbed, especially being one of the only rookies that really got major playing time and made the playoffs. I don’t think people took that into consideration.”

On playoff experience: “We understand what it’s like to be there, what it feels like. Coming into next year, if we make it, we’ll know what to do. We understand it’s gonna take almost every possession to be perfect for us to come out with a victory.”

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On what the Cavs’ surge to the NBA finals says about the Celtics’ series against them: “It just shows we can compete with anybody. This team is in the finals with arguably the best player in the NBA, and we competed with them. We didn’t lay down; they didn’t blow us out. We stayed with them and had chances to win games. And to see that, we proved a lot to ourselves that we can do it.”

On taking the challenge of defending LeBron James: “I want to test myself and challenge myself as a defensive player in general. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more chances next year when we play them, and I’ll have to take advantage of those.”

On what he has learned watching these playoffs: “You kind of watch how guys attack certain schemes. I watched the Rockets/Warriors game when [James] Harden had like 10 turnovers, just the way they roped him and shook him and he was struggling to get his shot off. I saw where he could have done this or done that. It’s a good way to learn.”

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On Brad Stevens: “He’s a young coach so he was adjusting and adapting to things in his first couple of years here. He’s been doing a really good job of it I think. He’s really been really, really, really open with me about things. The freedom I have as a rookie is just crazy. Most rookies don’t get that and he feels comfortable enough with me that he puts me in those situations in close games. It means a lot.”

Advice for fellow rookie James Young: “My advice would be to tell him, ‘You’ve got to work harder than you’ve ever worked. This isn’t college anymore. Guys are better than you or just as good as you and they’re always gonna bring someone to replace you if you’re not gonna do what you’re supposed to do, so you’ve got to keep that in mind, that I could be gone at any given time because every year there’s another batch of players coming in.’”

On how far the Celtics are from taking the next step: “We’re not far, but we’re not that close, either. We’re kind of like in the middle. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, no doubt, but now we know what it takes to get there. We’ve seen it and we’ve felt it.”


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.