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The Marcus Smart Mentality

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In this new, modernized landscape of the NBA, versatility is power.

Seven-foot centers are shooting at a revolutionary clip from beyond the arc. Point guards are actually averaging triple-doubles, and the term “positionless basketball” might be more relevant now than ever before.

Marcus Smart probably isn’t the first name that pops into your head when you think about a do-it-all type of player. It’s also true that the majority of teams probably don’t game plan around a nervousness that he could drop 50 points on any given night.

However. Smart brings something very unique, yet strangely familiar to this new era of Celtics basketball. His tough, blue-collar style resonates perfectly with Boston fans. In a city where historical confidence and pride definitely isn’t lacking, it pays to be an old soul.

That’s exactly what Marcus Smart is.

The mentality with which Smart approaches the game can be best described with a reference from Stephen King’s coming of age novel, The Body.

It is the key phrase from Milo Pressman’s character, a grumpy old junkyard owner—who is never without his notoriously ferocious dog, Chopper—that sends chills down the spines of his unsuspecting victims:

“Sic’em, boy.”

It’s the same feeling that offensive players get when they cross half court and Smart is patiently waiting to pounce. Like Chopper, Marcus Smart has shown a concise ability to turn his aggression on and off like a switch: On one end of the floor, he’s an intelligent offensive presence, an effective playmaker and versatile option in seemingly any lineup that Brad Stevens concocts in his coaching cauldron. On the other, a cold, heartless killer.

It’s the attack-dog mentality that defines Smart as a player. A fearless kill-or-be-killed view of the world was developed at a very young age, as he grew up the youngest of four brothers. In an interview with Bill Doyle of SouthCoastToday, Smart said:

“They all played basketball, football and everything like that. So growing up in my household, you got to fight for your own. If you wanted something, you had to speak up or you wouldn’t get it.”

To this day, he carries himself in much the same way. In an ultra-competitive league like the NBA, adaptability is the key to survival. For Smart, that means guarding a 6’1” point guard on one possession, and covering a 6’9” power forward on the next. The thing that’s becoming more and more apparent is his love of the challenge.

The hunt, the chase, and the kill.

Who the defensive assignment happens to be on each possession has become somewhat irrelevant. Smart is out for blood, plain and simple.

The hard-nosed “fuck you” approach to basketball is sown into the very fibre of Celtics uniforms. Looking back at the likes of Bird, Parish, Havlicek and even Pierce and Garnett, they have a lot in common. Boston players are a special breed. They learn and adapt to this way of life. The relentless passion of the fans becomes almost a source of power in the heat of battle. They want to win for the city, for the crowd, and for the storied history of the franchise.

Smart is quickly becoming one of those players. He has the confidence to take the fate of the game into his own hands—just ask the Toronto Raptors. He’ll glue himself to the opposing team’s best closer. He’ll win some, and he’ll lose some. But he’ll always go down fighting.

Smart is instinctively protective, obedient and loyal. He has a job to do and a role to play just like everyone else. The difference here, however, is that Smart won’t let anything—or anyone—get in his way.

As a huge fan of basketball, and most importantly the NBA, Andrew Miller lives and breathes basketball. Graduating from the Marketing program at the University of the West of Scotland, Andrew has taken his love for basketball and talent as a wordsmith, and melded himself into basketball writing virtuoso.

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Featured Article

Ride The Wave

Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers. Things were good then.

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Back in October the sky was the limit. LeBron had decided to move to LA and join the Lakers, drawing in a decent support team and a lot of talk that the West was looking incredibly dominant next to a “weaker” East. Things were good then.

Five months later and things couldn’t be farther from that idylistic picture. The East thrived without the King and GMs put together some of the most noteworthy teams in a while. And the Lakers? The Lakers currently sit in the 11th spot of the Western Conference with very little hope of making it to the playoffs. They’re a team that is constantly attacked for their lack of chemistry, skill, and effort. For the first time in a long time, LA became synonymous with “hopeless”.

This wasn’t the future we saw for the King.

On the heels of a night filled with one of his greatest achievements ever, the Lakers as a team walked away with a loss to the Denver Nuggets. A night that began on a high note went out on one that was equivalent to sour candy. Furthermore, a frustrated team left an arena, hopped on social media, and found a bevy of congrats for their star player, while enduring the storm that came with another Lakers loss.

It seems that James’ stardom has reached a tipping point, one that makes him a GM one moment, the King of the league the next, and finally the biggest point of contention within the locker room. The most notable thing is that it is clearly wearing him down. Chris Martin let us know that “nobody one said it was easy”, but you’ve got to ask yourself, does it have to be so hard?

The answer is unfortunately, yes. It’s always going to be this way, and there is no fighting the current, but there is beauty in riding the wave. Embracing that moment when the wave comes crashing down on you is important, because it’s always going to happen, but your attitude will always be remembered. LeBron rides high, and keeps things in the positive light for the media, but he’s got to realize that they are writing his story, and he doesn’t have to play into their’s. Ride the wave, and take the loss in stride with all the great that has come with it, but take the loss because your part of a team that is.

The wave has crashed down, but the current will bring another.

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Year 15 | A Mini Documentary

Year 15 of a legacy…

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What’s to come for the man on top, and what got him here?

It’s Year 15 of a man’s career, but it’s also Year 15 of a legacy…

Created by Tristan Laughton | Twitter: @Ctrice

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Editorial

Something Out of Nothing

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It’s March 2016, and I’m driving with Alan Shane Lewis to Montreal to meet with Marc Griffin and Phil Boileau. We’re meeting to speak about this exciting new idea I pitched to them. We were tired of spinning the wheels on our own individual internet shows, and I told them that it was time we stopped waiting for a network and became the network.

We spoke that weekend about creating a community of content creators that all loved ball and came together to make unique content with unique voices – voices we felt were never heard in the mainstream. This community was the base of Press and we’d continue to push forward from that spot. We spoke about some amazing show ideas, article ideas, social media plan. It was truly an exciting time, and still one of the best weekends of my life.

Two years later and that group is a lot smaller, and that idea is Press Basketball.

It caught fire at the beginning and we had people joining our bright shiny new plaything left, right, and center. It was exciting, but now I kind of realize that a lot of it was just that we were that “bright shiny new thing”.

We ended up with a lot of Press Basketball “members” but when I stepped back and looked at what was happening… it wasn’t what I’d imagined. The fire burned out. The idea was gone. We had just become another thing trying to stay alive, waiting for some deus ex machina to show up with money and make everything okay.

I’ve gone through most of my life making something out of nothing. It’s never easy, but when it happens it’s always worth it… ALWAYS. Press made me feel alive at a point. It was literally all I could think about, and while it still is on my mind, it doesn’t make me feel alive. This hurts more than I can ever explain.

Changes are coming my friends. We’re not laying down and dying, and if we do it’s not going to be like this.

The core of Press will be setting fire to a lot over the next few weeks and I personally can’t wait for this to start. From the ashes something new will rise (I watched a lot of XMEN growing up).

Stay tuned, because it’s not over.

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Ride The Wave

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