Friday, May 5, 2023

Marcus Smart wins 2022-23 NBA Hustle Award

Marcus Smart has won the 2022-23 NBA Hustle Award, the league announced Thursday afternoon.

This makes it the second straight year that the Celtics guard has been given the award, becoming the first player to win the honor in back-to-back seasons and it's his third time overall over the past seven years it has existed. 

The NBA Hustle Award is given to to players that make effort plays that don't necessarily make the box scores, but has tracked certain stats including deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn, screen assists, contested shots and box-outs since the 2016-17 postseason.

The top-five finalists for the award this year were Smart, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith, New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson and New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones.

Players that are eligible for the Hustle Award have to play at least 24 minutes per contest and in at least 58 games in a season.

Smart, who won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award last season, has been considered as one of the league's hardest-working defenders and has never hesitated to dive on the floor for loose ball or grab those 50/50 balls at any given moment. The savvy veteran finished 14th in loose balls recovered per game this season.

The starting guard also ranked 16th in deflections (2.6 per game) and 10th in steals (1.5 per game) year, helped not only  the Celtics finish the regular season with a 57-25 record (second best in the NBA) and second in defensive efficiency -- allowing 110.6 points.

In his ninth season, Smart averaged 11.5 points, a career-best 6.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game and a career-high six double-doubles.

The Celtics are currently tied 1-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in their second-round best-of-7 series, while Smart is averaging 16.0 points on 50% shooting, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals so far in the postseason.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy USA Today

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