Boston Celtics guard, Marcus Smart, won the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, tallying 37 first place votes. Smart is the first guard to win the award since Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton in 1996, joining Payton, Sidney Moncrief, Alvin Robertson, Michael Cooper, and Michael Jordan as the only guards to ever win the award since its introduction in the 1982-83 NBA season.
Lead by Smart’s defensive prowess and pure passion for the game, the Boston Celtics finished their season second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 51-31. The rugged guard put together quite the campaign for DPOY in the 2021-22 season.
The former Oklahoma State player finished the regular season with 206 deflections on the defensive end. He also had 75 loose balls recovered, 16 charges, 10.3 in defensive wins shared, and 119 steals. His defensive rating was 105.2, which ranked ninth in the NBA and fifth among guards.
Smart ranked tenth in total deflections, fourth in loose balls recovered, fifth in defensive wins shared, and sixth in steals.
When guarded by the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, opponents shot only 45% from the field and 33% from long range, ranking seventh best in the league defensively among players with at least 60 games played.
The Celtics finished first in points allowed (104.5 PPG), opponent field goal percentage at (43.4%), defensive rating (106.2), and opponent 3-point percentage (33.9%).
Smart ends the 26-year drought of a guard not winning the DPOY award by putting exceptional effort into his defensive play, guarding the best perimeter players night in and night out, and consistently finding ways to reduce their effectiveness.
Smart joins Kevin Garnett as the only Celtics players to win the award since its creation in 1982. When Garnett won the award in 2008, Boston hung up banner number 17. Can Marcus Smart make history repeat itself?
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