Marcus Smart Shared Advice To Celtics Trade Deadline Addition

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Marcus Smart offered ex-teammate and Boston Celtics trade deadline acquisition Xavier Tillman a piece of advice before parting ways with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Smart spent nine seasons with the Celtics, joining Boston in its rebuilding stage in 2014, and watching the team become an NBA Finals contender over the years. Having been a part of the program for nearly a decade allowed Smart to understand the team and the fanbase very well, which he relayed to Tillman, who’s expected to be Boston’s biggest depth upgrade.

“The main thing he told me is very similar to Memphis in terms of us grittin’ and grindin’, and how hard you have to work for the fans, you know, appreciation, stuff like that,” Tillman told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston. “And once you do show that you’re willing to hustle, they’re going to love you after that.”

Watching Smart’s reception during his return to TD Garden earlier this month, if anything, backs what the ex-Celtics fan-favorite was getting at. Smart was showered with praise from pregame to the final buzzer, and it didn’t take All-Star appearances or 50-point games to get there either.

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Tillman, 25, was acquired for defensive purposes primarily. Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford have taken injury-management time off throughout the season, therefore, having Tillman step in will provide the Celtics with another front-court presence to crash the boards and fight for rebounds.

In Memphis, Tillman averaged six points and 4.6 rebounds on 40.8% shooting in 34 games — including 13 starts — played. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound veteran hasn’t been cleared yet to debut with Boston.

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