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Marcus Smart is a must-add in fantasy basketball

With Gordon Haywards injury, Marcus Smart is in line for a big workload.

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Last week Gordon Hayward broke his hand, which is just the freaking worst given he was finally starting to look like his old self after snapping his leg in half two years ago. But not all hope is lost (well except for those who have Hayward on your fantasy teams)! Marcus Smart is still here to save your fantasy team!

How can you not want someone like Marcus Smart on your fantasy team? The dude literally shoved Joel Embiid from behind with the smallest about of shits given. LOOK AT THIS GLORY!

This image should be placed next to the Mona Lisa. It should be the new logo for the NBA. It should be shown to soldiers before they head out on a mission. Churches should install stained glass windows with this image.

With Hayward now out of the lineup for what’s likely the next couple of months, Smart is about to see a BIG uptick in work, and he’s proven to be very productive when he gets the minutes.

Last year, Smart averaged 27.5 Minutes Per Game. He ended the fantasy season as the 70th best player on ESPN Basic. Smart was 17.3% owned last year. The player who was 71st on the Player Rater last year was 71.4% owned (Derrick Favors). Why was Smart so valuable?

A couple reasons: he amassed the third-most steals in the NBA (143) behind only Paul George and James Harden. But he got those steals in 600 fewer minutes than PG13 or the Beard. Smart also had his best year as a shooter: he shot 42% from the floor, and 36% from three, both career highs.

Hayward’s 31 minutes and 13.8 field goal attempts per game are now on the shelf. Those minutes and shots have to go somewhere: the most likely recipient will be Smart. He’ll rejoin the starting lineup and Boston’s defense will suddenly get EVEN BETTER. Smart’s 9.5 FGA per game will most likely improve, as well.

Smart’s ratios are down from last year so far, but his upward trajectory in trend lines suggest that they’ll get better as the season goes along. Smart is currently averaging 10+ points, 4+ assists and 3+ rebounds per game. Only 46 players are doing that in the NBA, and they’re ALL at least 30% owned (most are at least 50% owned). Only 36 players are averaging 10-3-4, and average 1+ Steal Per Game (including Smart). And, less than 20 players also have an 80+ FT%. Last year, only 25 players averaged 40+ FG%, 35+ 3PT%, 80+ FT%, and 1+ SPG, and yup, Mr. Smart was one of them.

Marcus Smart is 17.8% owned. He’s about to inherit more minutes and more shots. His steals totals will go up along with his minutes, and if his shooting improves to levels near last year, his fantasy value will skyrocket.

Basketball, much like the cosmos itself, is indifferent to bad luck, even when it’s appallingly unfair, like Gordon Hayward’s latest misfortune. But, catastrophe provides opportunity for new growth. Though the very atmosphere seems burned away, and the seas made toxic to all but a few, life finds a way, as a smart man said in a movie about dinosaurs. The annihilation of Gordo’s fantasy season, sad as it is, breathes new life into Marcus Smart’s future.

Let’s be conservative, and say that Smart’s shots only go up a few. He’s averaging 10+ PPG right now; could he up that by 3? If Smart had averaged 13+ PPG, along with 4+ APG, 3+ RPG, and 1+ SPG (so, only his points go up in this hypothetical) last year, then he’d have been a star in fantasy. Here’s the list from last year of the 27 players to average 13-3-4-1. ALL of those guys are highly owned players. (111 total players averaged 13+ PPG last season, by the way; so far this season, that number is 102.)

Smart is currently less owned than Zach Collins, who is out injured. He’s less owned than JaVale McGee, who’s in a timeshare with Dwight Howard (also owned more than Smart), and Anthony Davis, I think (?). There are 154 players with a higher ownership than Marcus Smart as of Monday morning.

Get Smart. Marcus Smart is a treasure trove of valuable rare earths and defensive counting stats, and he’s now in a position to score more. All Hayward-fantasy life has been obliterated on our Green Globe. Long live Planet Smart.

Oh yeah:

AND, HE PUSHES JOEL EMBIID AROUND! INTERNET, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, MARCUS SMART IS OUT HERE PUNKING THE PUNKER, AND YOU OWN HIM LESS THAN NIC BATUM? BATUM’S ONLY PLAYED IN ONE GAME THIS YEAR! HE’S INJURED! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELVES, ACQUIRE MARCUS SMART FOR BASICALLY FREE, HE’S GOOD FOR YOU, HE’S AWESOME, AND HE MADE THE BEST PHOTO IN HISTORY HAPPEN.