On Media Day, Marcus Smart, the newest member of the Memphis Grizzlies, was asked what the general pulse is about said tournament. Smart had a refreshingly candid answer.
“To be honest with you, nobody cares about that. It’s a thing they never care about. You know, I’ve had mixed feelings on it from players. It’s just great to be able to play more basketball. I think that’s more of it, just more games for the fans.”Marcus Smart on the NBA In-Season Tournament
For more details of the in-season tournament, the NBA laid it all down in one of their articles. The word is that each player of the champion team will receive $500,000. That’s a pretty hefty sum, no matter how you slice it.
The Memphis Grizzlies pulled the trigger on a trade that allowed them to acquire Smart in the offseason. As a result, The Grizzlies are hitting two birds with one stone. They chose not to re-sign Dillon Brooks, and they decided to move Tyus Jones. The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year can do both roles—a point guard on offense and a stopper on defense.
Besides Smart’s defensive capabilities, his leadership will be invaluable to the young Memphis team. He has been to five Conference Finals with the Boston Celtics and a trip to the NBA Finals in 2022. Smart averaged 6.3 assists last year for the Celtics, which is very challenging to pull off with many high-usage guys on the team.
Smart’s presence may also unlock Ja Morant’s scoring ability. Morant won’t be asked to make plays every time and could play more off the ball.
In the end, acquiring Smart could only be favorable for the Grizzlies’ growth. He is a seasoned veteran who plays with energy on both ends of the court and is a positive presence in the locker room. While honest, his answer about the in-season tournament shows how perceptive he is.