Marcus Smart has been selected as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Marcus Smart leads the NBA in defensive efficiency. On Monday night, the Boston Celtics’ star was awarded the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, just one day after being named one of three contenders for the title. Smart became only the sixth guard to win the award since its inception in 1983, and the first since Gary Payton in 1995-96.

Payton was also at the Celtics’ practice facility on Monday to inform Smart of the news. Other guards who have won include Michael Jordan, Alvin Robertson, Michael Cooper, and Sidney Moncrief.

Smart faced Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who has won the award three times in the last four seasons. Smart received 257 points and 37 votes for first place. Bridges finished second with 202 points, while Gobert finished third with 136 points. Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, who earlier on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with being left off the finalist list, finished fourth.

Smart joins Kevin Garnett as the only Celtics player to have won the award. This season, in his ninth with the franchise, Smart averaged 12.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. The 28-year-old was seventh in the league in thefts per game and sixth in total steals. He also contributed to the Celtics being the NBA’s top defensive team this season. They had the highest defensive rating (106.2) and allowed only 104.5 points per game, limiting opponents to the lowest field-goal percentage and 3-point % in the league.

Smart finished with 20 points and five rebounds in Sunday’s 115-114 victory against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series. Wednesday is the date for Game 2 of the series.


Written by Clint Pasillas

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