Not many players could put up 20+ on Marcus Smart, let alone 30 a night. But Stephen Curry isn't like many players, and as great as a defender as Smart is, there's just no such thing as efficiently guarding Curry.
Smart knows that. He found out the hard way several months ago during the NBA Finals, as Curry went into human torch mode to give him and whoever was caught guarding him hell for 40+ minutes a night.
That's why the reigning Defensive Player of the Year respects the competition and the challenge he represents. In fact, he admitted that he spent his summer workouts thinking about how to guard him.
NBA News: Marcus Smart Thought Of Stephen Curry During Summer Workouts
“Definitely,” Smart told Heavy.“I was thinking about him all summer when I was going through my workouts. I was thinking about what I have to do against him. And that’s good. It just gives me more ways, more things to add to my game on both ends — defensively and offensively — when you’ve got a great player that you’re going up against".
“He challenges you with how great he is on offense, and you have to be able to challenge him right back on the other end," the guard added. "But with the way he is on offense, you have to add to your repertoire, add to your wardrobe, because of all the things he throws at you that you have to see that you’ve probably never seen before.”
“Steph understands that,” Smart continued. “Steph’s been in this game for a long time, and he’s been doing what he’s doing at a very high rate. He understands that people are coming at him. He understands that he’s going to get everybody’s best shot, and rightfully so. You wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t know Steph — I’m not speaking for Steph — but I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way."
“It’s a compliment to him and what he does for this game that people approach him that way, giving him their best shot. It’s what it is, you know? He did his part, he did his job. He has every right to say whatever he wants, because he did it. So it’s on us to try to come back and try to see what we did wrong and try to get back there," the DPOY concluded.
That's the ultimate praise coming from one of the league's most hardnosed and competitive players out there and one of the few guys who could lock 99% of the league up. Maybe, he'll get the best out of Steph one day. Just not today.