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NBA names Celtics’ Marcus Smart 2022 Defensive Player of the Year

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Per the NBA, for the first time since Boston Celtics alumnus Gary Payton, Sr. won the award in 1996, a guard has been named the league’s 2022 Defensive Player of the Year. That player is of course veteran Celtics point guard Marcus Smart, who won the 2021-22 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award ahead of perennial big man candidate Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and small forward Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns, the awards other two finalists announced on Sunday.

The Flower Mound native has long honed his craft as both a team and one-on-one defender, capable of guarding every position on the floor in at least short bursts and among the best perimeter and hustle defenders in recent NBA history.

Smart had a very competitive field and not just among traditional bigs, with Bridges’ finalist status suggesting a changing perspective on the importance of guard and wing play in modern NBA defenses.

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

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