Smart becomes the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton back during the 1995-96 campaign and the second C's player to earn DPOY since Kevin Garnett in 2007-08.
The 2021-22 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year is Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart! pic.twitter.com/kfwG9NcUae— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 18, 2022
The longest tenured Celtic is finally being recognized as the league's best perimeter defender. Smart helped anchor Boston to lead the NBA in defensive rating and scoring defense (104.6) while holding opponents to a league-low 43.4% on field-goals and 33.9% on 3-pointers. The 28-year-old veteran guard ranked seventh in the NBA in steals per game (1.68) and tied for sixth in total steals (119).
Marcus Smart is the first guard to be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year since Gary Payton in the 1995-96 season. Smart is also the second player to win the award with the @celtics, joining Kevin Garnett (2007-08).— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 18, 2022
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Marcus Smart of the @celtics receives the 2021-2022 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award from Gary Payton! #KiaDPOY— NBA (@NBA) April 18, 2022
He is the first guard to receive the award since Gary Payton in the 1995-96 season. pic.twitter.com/kunKEW6ujj
"When I came out and I saw GP, things kinda clicked and I saw the tweet blown up. I put two and two together and my teammates and coaching staff did a good job setting this up for me," said Smart.
"She's still here in spirit looking down on me, and she helped me continue to strive and actually win this award, " said Smart of his mother.
"Without those naysayers and what we call haters, I wouldn't be able to go out there and do what I do," said Smart with a smile. "To them I say thank you, keep it up."
Photo used courtesy of Celtics.com