Draymond Green reacts to Steve Kerr comparing him and Marcus Smart

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Draymond Green reacts to Kerr comparing him and Marcus Smart originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We can expect a hard-fought NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors with two of the league's scrappiest players taking center stage.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Warriors forward Draymond Green both are lauded for their hustle and defensive prowess. With those qualities, combined with their leadership on and off the court, they're viewed as the "heart and soul" of their respective teams.

Could the Smart-Curry encounter from March bleed into Finals?

The similarities don't end there. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr accurately summed up what makes Smart so comparable to Green.

“His strength and his anticipation, he’s got an incredible feel for the game at that end,” Kerr said on Monday. “He’s like the guard version of Draymond. He’s reading angles, he’s guarding all five positions, if he switches on to a five man, he’s so strong, he can hold them off. He’s quick enough to chase point guards around, big enough to guard wings so he can literally guard 1-5 in the modern game. He’s appropriately named, very smart player and really versatile and great, great defender."

Green was asked on Tuesday whether he agrees with Kerr's assessment.

"Yeah, for sure," Green said. "He's the emotional leader. He's the anchor on their defense in a way. Robert Williams is the anchor in a way, Al Horford is actually an anchor in a way, but Marcus Smart is your real anchor on that defense. And then on the offensive end, he's the one getting everybody involved. He's the one calling the sets. And so, I definitely see some of that.

"But that's a guy that I have a lot of respect for and to see him coming into his own -- and I've used this a couple of times -- to see him looking like the Marcus Smart that came out of Oklahoma State and had so much promise, to see him back playing that way and at that level, it's been fun to watch."

That's some high praise from another one of the NBA's best defensive players. Green, a four-time All-Star, was named Defensive Player of the Year for 2016-17. He has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times and Second Team three times. Just as Smart is the "anchor" of this Celtics defense, Green was the anchor for all three of the Warriors' championships during their dynastic run.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for 9 p.m. ET Thursday at Chase Center. Coverage begins on NBC Sports Boston with Celtics Pregame Live at 8 p.m.