Marcus Smart's Defensive Hit List Is Getting Fucking Ridiculous

I touched on this in the blog earlier today, but Marcus Smart's defensive season has been so ridiculous it deserves it's own deep dive blog. When fans say Marcus Smart can guard 1-5 it's not a joke, it's reality. Not only can he do it, but he can do it at an elite level and has been for years now. After finally making All NBA Defensive First Team last year the league woke up and recognized his brilliance on that end, and without a doubt Smart is taking things to another level this season. For starters, since defensive metrics can be tricky, one of the easiest and concrete ways to evaluate someone's defense is how opponents shoot while being defended by said player. For Marcus Smart, this shows that opponents are shooting 14% worse than their average (28%) while being defended by Smart. That's good for 3rd in the entire NBA of players that have played at least 8 games like Smart has. That would be impressive no matter who it was, but when you factor in the caliber of talent that Smart is lining up against, at all five positions, it really is getting ridiculous. This isn't a case where Smart is destroying the worst player on a roster or anything like that. He's taking opponent's #1 options and completely eliminating them from the game. To show you just how insane this has been, I want you to see his matchups for each of the 9 games so far this season.

Game 1 vs PHI

Ben Simmons: 23.7% of the time, 0 points and 2 TOs

Tobias Harris: 20% of the time, 2 points and 1 TO

Josh Richardson: 18.7% of the time, 4 points

Game 2 vs TOR

Kyle Lowry: 36.5% of the time, 3 points

Norman Powell: 14.7% of the time, 0 points

Pascal Siakam: 14% of the time, 2 points

Game 3 vs NYK

RJ Barrett: 10% of the time, 3 points

Allonzo Trier: 10% of the time, 0 points

Elfrid Payton: 4% of the time, 0 points

Game 4 vs MIL

Giannis: 32.8% of the time, 5 points

Khris Middleton: 19.7% of the time, 0 points

Eric Bledsoe: 15% of the time, 2 points

Game 5 vs NYK

Julius Randle: 30.7% of the time, 2 points

RJ Barrett: 22.7% of the time, 4 points

Marcus Morris: 17% of the time, 4 points

Game 6 vs CLE

Kevin Love: 63.8% of the time, 8 points

Jordan Clarkson: 8% of the time, 0 points

Collin Sexton: 6% of the time, 0 points

Game 7 vs CHA

Devonte Graham: 8% of the time, 5 points

Malik Monk: 8% of the time, 0 points

Dwayne Bacon: 3% of the time, 0 points

Game 8 vs SA

Bryn Forbes: 23.4% of the time, 0 points

Dejounte Murray: 14% of the time, 0 points

DeMar DeRoan: 14% of the time, 0 points

Game 9 vs DAL

Luka Doncic: 53% of the time, 4 points

Tim Hardaway Jr: 10% of the time, 0 points

Maxi Kleber: 9% of the time, 0 points

Kristaps Prozingis: 6.7% of the time, 0 points

I mean holy shit. By my count there are 9 All Stars on this list (I didn't even include Tobias Harris/Eric Bledsoe since they haven't made one yet) that play pretty much every position. We're looking at #1 scorers, franchise talents, hell even guys who haven't made All Star games yet but are good players (Harris, Randle, Murray, Bledsoe etc). Think of what a weapon this has been for Brad, that he can unleash this defensive monster against the best of the best in the NBA at any position and effectively eliminate their offensive production. I'll remind you, he's doing this as a 6'3 point guard. How many other guards can you do an exercise like this with? Would you need more than 5 fingers? I mean look at the work he did last night

and it's like this every single night no matter the opponent. It's why Smart if he stays healthy should be an absolute lock to repeat his All NBA Defensive First team honor and needs to be in the early conversation for DPOY. He may not win it, it'll probably go to Gobert again because that man is a monster, but at the same time you don't see Gobert defending guards the way Smart guards bigs now do ya? 

The 37% shooting from three may stand out when it comes to Smart's great start to the year, but the work he is doing defensively and the names that keep getting added to this list is starting to get insane. Let this be a lesson to opposing coaches everywhere, when you face this team you better figure out a way to win that doesn't rely on your #1 option because Marcus Smart is basically the best shut down corner in the NBA. He doesn't need help, you don't need to double no matter who it is, just let the man go to work.