What Gregg Popovich Saw In Marcus Smart During 2019 FIBA World Cup

BOSTON — There’s plenty to love about Marcus Smart, especially if you’re a Boston Celtics fan.

But no matter how much he may bug some players on the court, Smart still gains the respect of many who meet him. Gregg Popovich is one of those people.

Popovich coached Smart and three other Celtics on Team USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where he got to know Smart quite well in that brief span. And while Smart coped with injury during much of the tournament, Popovich said he saw the same thing everyone sees in the 25-year-old when he did take the court.

“He’s Marcus Smart. He’s a tough son of a gun,” the San Antonio Spurs head coach said before Wednesday’s game against the Celtics at TD Garden. “He sticks his nose in and he’s ready to win.”

Short, sweet and to the point.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images