2022 NBA Awards: Celtics guard Marcus Smart named Defensive Player of the Year

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.

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. 

“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

Season Winner
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

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