Marcus Smart earns praise from Kevin Garnett, Tony Allen for Defensive Player of the Year win

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DPOY Marcus Smart earns shout-outs from two iconic Celtics defenders originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Marcus Smart was recognized as the NBA's best defender Monday. He's also earning plenty of recognition from his peers -- and those who came before him.

Boston Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were among the many who congratulated Smart for winning 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday. Fellow DPOY finalist Mikal Bridges also tipped his cap to the Celtics guard, while Gary Payton -- the last guard to win DPOY before Smart back in 1996 -- showed up at the Celtics' practice facility to present Smart with the award in person.

On Tuesday, two of the best defenders in recent Celtics history chimed in.

Forsberg: Why Marcus Smart was the right choice for DPOY

One was Kevin Garnett, who won Defensive Player of the Year during Boston's championship season in 2007-08 and made nine All-Defensive First Teams during his Hall of Fame career as one of the best defensive big men of all time.

Garnett and Smart are the only two Celtics to win the award since its inception in 1983, and the Big Ticket gave Smart a shout-out on Instagram for his accomplishment.

Instagram/@tic_pix

"Congrats to you bro," Garnett wrote along with the "100" emoji.

Smart also heard from ex-Celtics guard Tony Allen, who earned three All-Defensive First Team and three All-Defensive Second Team nods during his NBA career and was one of the most ferocious on-ball defenders of his era.

While a shout-out from KG is quite the honor, Smart probably feels a closer kinship to his fellow guard in Allen.

"Us guards, we've been working," Smart told reporters Monday night after winning the award. "We're the front line, you've got to get past us first and that's just how we guards feel.

"So, to be able to be named the Defensive Player of the Year and be the first guard since Gary Payton in 1996 to win this, it just shows not only me but everybody else that it can be done."

Smart was the quarterback of the NBA's No. 1-ranked defense this season, and while he didn't lead the league in "traditional" stats like blocks or steals, his incredible ability to guard every position at a high level makes him a worthy choice for this award.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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