Marcus Smart was a polarizing player during his Boston Celtics tenure, but he unquestionably was the team's vocal leader both on and off the court.
He'll resume that role with the Memphis Grizzlies next season after being traded by the C's in June. While Smart's departure opens the door for Boston's superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to find their voices, we shouldn't expect a sudden change in their mostly mild-mannered personalities.
"I'm never going to be Kevin Garnett,” Tatum told Jeff Goodman of The Messenger. "As much as people want me to be, that’s not who I am. The way I lead, the public may not ever see what I do."
Goodman joined Chris Forsberg on a new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast to discuss his interview with Tatum, how Tatum will approach his leadership role, and who could step up as Boston's vocal leader in Smart's absence.
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"I think he's much more comfortable with his own voice now. And I do think when Jayson Tatum talks now, people are going to listen," Goodman said. "Because he's not one of those guys who's going to talk just to talk. So when he does, I think everybody's going to understand, OK, you know what? This dude's got a real issue. Or he's got something to say that he feels really passionately or strongly about."
But if Tatum isn't the guy to take over Smart's vocal leadership role, who is?
"I don't know who it's going to be. I don't know who it can be," Goodman said. "There's not a personality that's gonna all of a sudden flip the switch. Jaylen is the one that a lot of people would think has it in him because he's so vocal off the court, right? But we see it on the court, that's not how he is on the court for the most part. So your two superstars are pretty chill on the court for the most part.
"(Kristaps) Porzingis isn't gonna come in and do it. We know (Malcolm) Brogdon and Derrick White aren't gonna be the rah-rah guys. Derrick White's got a little bit of rah-rah in him, but in a very different way. So who's left? You got rid of Grant (Williams), who talked too much. But he talked, he was vocal. He brought passion, outward energy."
Also discussed in the episode:
- Goodman explains why he wanted to talk with Tatum and how he's evolved throughout the years.
- Will Tatum end up on the Celtics' Mount Rushmore?
- Previewing the 2023-24 Celtics season.
- Watching Tatum navigate fatherhood.