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Marcus Smart first guard to win DPOY since 1996

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart became just the second at that position to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, joining Gary Payton.

Jennifer Bubel

Marcus Smart was up against some tough competition for the Defensive Player of the Year award this year. He received just 37% of votes, but it was more than the Suns forward Mikal Bridges and Jazz center Rudy Gobert and enough to win him the title. Smart is just the second point guard to ever win the title, and the first guard since Gary Payton won it in 1996 when he played for the Seattle SuperSonics.

Other names on the voting list include Bam Adebayo (Heat), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Robert Williams II (Celtics), Jrue Holiday (Bucks), Al Horford (Celtics), Draymond Green (Warriors), and Matisse Thybull (76ers).

It’s rare for a guard to win DPOY. Typically, it’s the centers and forwards dominating the award. While Smart and Payton are the only two point guards to have won it, there have been five shooting guards. It’s been even longer since a shooting guard won it, though. The last one was Michael Jordan in 1988.

Smart finished the regular season tied for 10th in deflections (106) and charges drawn (16), seventh in steals per game (1.68), fifth among guards in the NBA (105.2 defensive rating), and first in the league un loose balls recovered per game (1.1).


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