It’s not often that a guard wins the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
But when one does, it’s because it’s incredibly well-earned, as it was last season when Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics scored that coveted trophy.
He might not always be the biggest guy on the court but Smart is almost always one of the most fierce and devoted to defense.
Marcus Smart was matched up with Chris Paul on 19 possessions and allowed 0 points
He guarded Mikal Bridges on 14 possessions and allowed 0 points
He guarded Devin Booker on 6 possessions and allowed 3 points
— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) December 8, 2022
That was the case on Wednesday, as his Celtics completely embarrassed the Phoenix Suns.
As for Smart, he was a huge part of the huge win.
He was matched against Chris Paul on 19 possessions and didn’t let Paul score a single point during that time.
He also guarded Mikal Bridges for 14 possessions and allowed 0 points.
But, wait, there’s more: he also guarded Devin Booker for 6 possessions and only allowed three points.
Is he on his way to another DPOY award?
The On-Court Intelligence Of Smart
Smart only scored 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists during the game but that doesn’t tell the whole picture for him.
When you watch him play, you see how intensely tuned in he is.
Not a single possession goes by without Smart attempting to suffocate his opponent with a fearless and aggressive defense.
That is what he’s been known for and it’s proven to be more important than him making a bunch of buckets during the game.
During the summer, Smart was honest about his desire to get the team back to the Finals.
He wants to win badly and he is not making it any secret.
You can see his desire during every game as he chases down and hounds any opposing player, no matter their size and skill.