Ime Udoka, Marcus Smart rate well but win no 2022 hardware for Celtics season in new USA TODAY panel projection

The Boston Celtics saw two members of the organization finish with relatively solid showings in two end-of-season award races in a new projection on NBA awards for the 2021-22 season put together by author Bryan Kalbrosky of our sister site For The Win.

While neither would end up taking home the trophy in their respective award categories, head coach Ime Udoka and veteran point guard Marcus Smart were held in high regard for the 2022 Coach of the Year (COTY) and Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) races by the USA TODAY analyst panel quizzed by Kalbrosky. The FTW author modeled his projection on the actual award process as much as he could and came up with some surprising results.

Let’s take a look at where Udoka and Smart finished.

Marcus Smart - Defensive Player of the Year (second overall)

Jan 23, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) looks down the court during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

“Although he doesn’t have as much of a lead as he did last time we spoke, and Boston’s Marcus Smart is right on his tail, Utah big man Rudy Gobert is still considered our favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year,” writes Kalbrosky.

“With a win this year, Gobert would join Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the players with the most DPOY trophies to their name. Utah’s defense is not nearly as dominant as Boston’s or Miami’s. But Gobert is still an otherworldly rim protector who grades out as the best defensive player in the league in almost all advanced metrics.”

Hopefully, at least for Celtics fans, the award voting does not line up with the panel’s.

Ime Udoka - Coach of the Year (fourth overall)

Mar 11, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka during the first half against the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

“While others had impressive campaigns, too, there isn’t much room for debate as to why Phoenix’s Monty Williams was voted as our Coach of the Year,” opines the FTW analyst.

Behind Williams is coach Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies, and then JB Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of Udoka.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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