Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been named the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
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Smart beat out Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges for the award, earning 37 first-place votes and 257 total points to Bridges’ 202 total points. Three-time winner Rudy Gobert finished third with 136 total points.
The votes were compiled from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Marcus Smart is the first guard to be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year since Gary Payton in the 1995-96 season. Smart is also the second player to win the award with the @celtics, joining Kevin Garnett (2007-08).
More ➡️ https://t.co/Y4VQicGkiq
Full voting results ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9WX2L25o4M
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 18, 2022
Smart becomes the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton in 1995-96 and the first Celtic since Kevin Garnett in 2007-08.
It’s only fitting that GP surprised Smart at Celtics practice today to present him the award.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2022
“That was awesome,” Smart said on TNT on having Payton deliver the award.
“He was really the idol for the guards having even a chance, he set the bar high, he paved the way for us to have our names in that hat.”
Smart played a pivotal role as the leader of the Celtics’ league-best defense this season as they posted a defensive rating of 106.2 and allowed the fewest points per game (104.5). They also held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage (43.4) and 3-point field goal percentage (33.9).
Starting 71 games this season, Smart posted averages of 12.1 points, a career-high 5.9 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 32.3 minutes per game.
The 28-year-old finished the season ranked 11th in steals per game and tied for sixth in total steals (119). He was also among the league leaders in several hustle stats, tied for fourth in the NBA in loose balls recovered (75) and tied for 10th in both deflections (206) and charges drawn (16).
NBA Defensive Player of the Year winners
|2021-22||Marcus Smart, Celtics|
|2020-21||Rudy Gobert, Jazz|
|2019-20||Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks|
|2018-19||Rudy Gobert, Jazz|
|2017-18||Rudy Gobert, Jazz|
|2016-17||Draymond Green, Warriors|
|2015-16||Kawhi Leonard, Spurs|
|2014-15||Kawhi Leonard, Spurs|
|2013-14||Joakim Noah, Bulls|
|2012-13||Marc Gasol, Grizzlies|
|2011-12||Tyson Chandler, Knicks|
|2010-11||Dwight Howard, Magic|
|2009-10||Dwight Howard, Magic|
|2008-09||Dwight Howard, Magic|
|2007-08||Kevin Garnett, Celtics|
|2006-07||Marcus Camby, Nuggets|
|2005-06||Ben Wallace, Pistons|
|2004-05||Ben Wallace, Pistons|
|2003-04||Metta World Peace, Pacers|
|2002-03||Ben Wallace, Pistons|
|2001-02||Ben Wallace, Pistons|
|2000-01||Dikembe Mutombo, 76ers|
|1999-00||Alonzo Mourning, Heat|
|1998-99||Alonzo Mourning, Heat|
|1997-98||Dikembe Mutombo, Hawks|
|1996-97||Dikembe Mutombo, Hawks|
|1995-96||Gary Payton, SuperSonics|
|1994-95||Dikembe Mutombo, Nuggets|
|1993-94||Hakeem Olajuwon, Rockets|
|1992-93||Hakeem Olajuwon, Rockets|
|1991-92||David Robinson, Spurs|
|1990-91||Dennis Rodman, Pistons|
|1989-90||Dennis Rodman, Pistons|
|1988-89||Mark Eaton, Jazz|
|1986-87||Michael Cooper, Lakers|
|1985-86||Alvin Robertson, Spurs|
|1984-85||Mark Eaton, Jazz|
|1983-84||Sidney Moncrief, Bucks|
|1982-83||Sidney Moncrief, Bucks|