Celtics' draft pick of Marcus Smart still paying dividends seven years later

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Celtics' draft pick of Smart still paying dividends seven years later originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics selected Marcus Smart with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft on this day seven years ago, and that move continues to help the C's on both ends of the floor.

Smart has played a crucial role in the Celtics' success over the last seven years, including seven playoff appearances and three trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.

While Smart has certainly improved offensively and will score 20-plus points on some nights, his largest impact comes on defense. 

Smart has been one of the league's top perimeter for several years. He was named to the All-Defensive first team during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. 

Smart set career highs this past season by averaging 13.1 points and 5.7 assists per game. Right now, he's probably the most likely starting point guard next season after the Celtics traded Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

The 27-year-old guard also is entering the final year of his contract. The Celtics would be wise to keep Smart long term given his value as a leader, a quality playmaker and an elite defender.