Marcus Smart Wins 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

Marcus Smart Wins 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award - partycasino

In a bit of surprising news, although in no way undeserved, Celtics player Marcus Smart has won the 2022 DPOY award. It's the first time he's won the award, and he's only the second Celtic to do it after the legendary Kevin Garnett in 2008. What's most surprising is the fact that Smart is a guard. While he was in lockdown mode every time he stepped onto the court, the DPOY award is regularly dominated by big men.

Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert won it three times in the past four years, but this year the frontrunner was Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges. Gobert was also in the running, but the award surprisingly went to Smart’s hands, although no one can say it was unworthy.

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A Great Season for Smart

Smart started all 71 games he played in the regular season for the Boston Celtics, the team with the best defensive rating in the league. He finished the season 7th in steals per game and had a defensive rating of 105.2, good enough for the fifth spot among all guards. He topped the loose balls recovered per game list with 1.1.

The DPOY award was introduced in 1982. Only two guards have won it in history – Gary Payton and Marcus Smart. Last month, the Celtics player said that guards don't get a lot of recognition for their defensive efforts. He said that he's not taking away anything from the bigs, but that guards do a lot of defending before players reach the paint.

He was touched to win the award, tweeting that it really blew him away. He dedicated it to his mom. The award was presented to him by the legendary Gary Payton, who joked around with Smart a bit before giving him the trophy during practice. The award comes after Smart's fantastic pass to Jayson Tatum for the buzzer-beater in the first game against the Nets. A rematch is on for Tuesday, and Smart will now certainly play with even more defensive tenacity.

Leading the Celtics Defensively

Boston has finished top-six in defensive rating in three of the past four seasons, and Smart has been a big part of it. He was drafted with the sixth pick overall in 2014, and slid into the starting lineup in the 2018-19 season. He’s averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals since then, being one of the key members of the team.

Smart broke a long line of big men that won the award recently, including Rudy Gobert and last year’s Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s an impressive award on his resume, and being only 28, we’re sure he has a lot of good basketball left in him. 

The series against the Nets will be a true test for his skills, as NJ is loaded on star power in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Celtics already have the lead thanks to his assist for the buzzer-beater, and with the new DPOY in their ranks, they'll be looking to snatch another win on Tuesday.