We did it. It really happened. Marcus Smart is officially your Defensive Player Of The Year. A no brainer to anyone who has watched 5 seconds of Boston Celtics basketball, Smart becomes the first point guard since Gary Payton in 1996 and the second Celtic to win the award joining Kevin Garnett. You know when he won it? In 2008. You know what happened in 2008?
This is all a little surreal if we're being honest. As someone who has watched every second of Marcus Smart's career, I know what a valuable defender he is. I've known for a long time. The casual fans obsess over his flopping and unfortunately they are robbing themselves of one of the most dominant defenders at his position. I'm sorry, scratch that. It robs them of everything else the best defender in the NBA does. Boy does that sound great. Marcus Smart, the best defender in the NBA. They don't give Defensive Player Of The Year to people that were not the best defender in the NBA. That's not me talking, that's the NBA. I think that's my favorite part of all of this. This gives Smart the validation he so rightfully deserves. He's certified. Period. End of discussion.
What's even more impressive was that Smart won this award immediately after a year where it looked like he was starting to regress a little bit defensively. Turns out it was just his injury since he came back this season in shape and ready and has been a monster defender since Day 1. To appreciate Smart's impact is to realize what his true importance is for the best defense in the NBA. It's more than the steals or blocks or advanced defensive metrics. He is the lifeblood. It's Smart who is ensuring everything in a switch heavy defense is on a string. It's his ability to know where everyone has to be at all times and his communication that helps the collective group perform at an elite level. When it's his turn to rotate weakside, he's there. He'll meet you at the rim. When it's his turn to handle a big on the block with no help, it allows everyone else to stay home and not rotate. He's a player that almost never loses a 50/50 ball and can utilize defense as a legitimate way to create offense.
That is why Marcus Smart is the DPOY. There is not a player in the NBA he cannot guard. From Trae Young to Joel Embiid. Without Smart, there is no #1 defense. It all starts at the point of attack and Smart's ability to handle his business is what makes the whole thing work.
But most importantly, I'm happy for Smart because of what he means to this franchise. Smart loves being a Celtic. He embraces this city. Lord knows where he's going to end up in Celtics history but it wouldn't shock me one bit if we see 36 raised to the rafters if everything goes how we all hope. It's awesome that one of your guys wins something like this. Especially when defense and grit and heart are so much of what makes up the fabric of the Boston Celtics. Marcus Smart embodies all of those things.
I just can't believe it really happened. Not do me a favor and buy a goddamn tshirt