The Boston Celtics sent former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team transaction that also included former All-Star center Kristaps Porzingis being moved to Boston. This was one of the greatest moves to occur during the NBA offseason.
As he begins a new season with a team other than the Celtics for the first time ever, Smart now confronts a new hurdle in his professional life. Given Ja Morant’s 25-game ban, the youthful and competitive Grizzlies will instantly turn to Smart, but the former Celtics guard has yet to play a preseason game for the club because of a core ailment.
Tuesday night’s preseason game between Memphis and Houston was missed by the veteran, whose situation, according to head coach Taylor Jenkins, was “day-to-day.” In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Jenkins discussed Smart and provided a slightly revised timeline for when he would be prepared to play for the Grizzlies.
The head coach reportedly said that Smart will not be available for the team’s third preseason game on Thursday but that he expected his new acquisition to be prepared for the start of the regular season on October 25 against the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Drew Hill from The Daily Memphian.
In practice, Smart has started lifting weights in addition to taking part in on-court activities. Jenkins’ finest piece of information was that Smart’s stomach discomfort is “dissipating,” which indicates that he is coming closer to practicing at full strength.
With a 51-31 record at the end of the 2022–23 season, the Grizzlies tied for fifth place in the league. But after losing in the first round of the playoffs for the second time in the last three years, it was clear that this team needed some kind of offseason adjustment.
With Jaren Jackson Jr. in the frontcourt, Memphis now has the previous two Defensive Player of the Year Award winners on their roster, making Smart’s arrival crucial. A good playmaker and facilitator in addition to his defense, Smart averaged a career-high 6.3 assists per game last season.
Marcus Smart is on the path to rehabilitation from his injury and it looks like he will be available when the season starts, despite not being quite ready to make his Grizzlies debut.