Jayson Tatum got nothing but optimism for the Memphis Grizzlies as they were able to acquire his longtime Boston Celtics teammate Marcus Smart.
“They’re getting a leader. They’re getting a guy that’s a winner. He’s been to the playoffs every year. We’ve been to the Finals together, obviously. So he knows what it takes to get there,” Tatum told Mark Giannotto of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Obviously he’s extremely talented. Best defender in the league. Just a guy that you would love to have on your team.”
Memphis obtained Smart earlier in the offseason in a shocker three-team trade that meanwhile allowed Boston to net Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis.
A renowned leader and defensive specialist, Smart is assumed to help the Grizzlies to have a cultural reset after a 2022-23 season marred by controversies. He is also about to share the court with fellow Defensive Player of the Year winner Jaren Jackson Jr.
The Grizzlies are also vying to take a greater step toward their competitive plans upon crumbling in their first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers last postseason. The 29-year-old’s long playoff experience and toughness would be vital for the promising Grizz team to be in the mix with fellow Western Conference powerhouses.
As Ja Morant will not play for the first 25 games of the season due to another gun incident, Smart will temporarily fill the floor general of Memphis to start their next campaign.