Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

Celtics guard Marcus Smart explains decision to drop 20 pounds

Ty Anderson
September 25, 2017 - 7:50 pm

CANTON -- Speaking at Celtics Media Day on Monday, Celtics guard Marcus Smart sounded more like a late-night weight loss infomercial than he did a professional basketball player entering his fourth NBA season. But he certainly looked the part.

Slimmed down about 20 pounds, and back to the weight he played at during his college days at Oklahoma State, Smart talked about the lifestyle changes that had to come for him to arrive back to Boston looking this good, as well as the reasons behind it.

“Looking at last season I was playing at about 240 [pounds] as a guard, and the reason I decided to lose [weight] was because throughout the whole playoffs I was having back problems,” the 23-year-old Smart, who averaged 29.9 minutes per game in the playoffs, said. “Before games, during games, after games. It was hard for me to go to sleep.

“I remember times putting on my shirt and having to tuck my stomach in because I didn’t like the way it looked,” Smart, who is down to 223 pounds, continued. “I was tired. I wasn’t as explosive. I was exerting so much energy just to try and go out there everyday and do the things I’ve been doing my whole life, so I wasn’t too fond of that.”

(You probably thought I was kidding when I said he sounded like an infomercial.)

Confirming that the team did indeed ask Smart to drop some weight for this upcoming season, Celtics president Danny Ainge knows that there’s no shortage of credit to go around for Smart’s remarkable transformation. But knows that it begins with Smart.

“I credit Marcus mostly for wanting it and putting in the time,” Ainge, who also mentioned assistant coach Jay Larranaga’s impact in Smart’s training, said.

“He’s wearing his tank-top around, sometimes takes his shirt off," Ainge joked. “[We say] 'Marcus, put your shirt back on. We see the six-pack [abs], okay?' But seriously, it’s fun to see him. He’s got guys throwing alley-oops to him in pick-up games and when they have a time-out. That’s fun to see. I’m hoping that leads to a great year for him.”

Working with a chef, and a fan of Mediterranean food (Smart says that he loves dates), Smart acknowledged that his own eating habits, which included eliminating all fried foods and avoiding late-night fast food trips, had to change for the work to pay off.

“Even now when I have my cheat days, I try to eat a burger or something, and it comes right back up,” Smart admitted. “My stomach is telling me, ‘We’re not doing that anymore. You need to get rid of that.’”

So what will you see from the longest-tenured Celtic now that he’s dropped the weight?

“More explosiveness, a lot more quickness laterally, and you’re gonna see me be able to guard the guards like John Wall and Bradley Beal and guys like that a lot better,” said Smart. “You’re definitely gonna see my energy level stay at a high rate. Last year with that extra weight, the first half I was energy, energy, but when the fourth quarter would come, I still had that mindset of energy, but my body wouldn’t allow me to do it.”

It’s what the Celtics are going to need this season, too, especially with the offseason departures of Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, which has left Smart as the club’s premier defender against guards, and with Jaylen Brown expected to pick up the slack.

"I think it's going to change his game for the better," Brown said when asked about Smart’s weight loss. "He looks good. He's moving a lot faster, he's jumping a lot higher. It's kind of weird to see him like that. Like, just imagine you've seen him and now he's 25 pounds lighter and it's like 'Man, who is this guy?' He looks good, he's moving well and he's shooting the ball great. He's athletic...it's going to be a good year for him."

Smart averaged a career-best 10.6 points and 4.6 assists in 79 games last season.

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