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Changing of the Guard
Date: April 20, 2022
Marcus Smart was all smiles when he accepted the 2021-22 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, becoming the first guard to win since Gary Payton in 1996. Smart was also the first Celtics player to be named DPOY since Kevin Garnett in 2008. “This is an honor and, literally, me and my teammates and the whole Celtics organization, we’ve been really working and trying to see if [a guard winning] will be changed today,” Smart said. “Today was the day.” A three-time All-Defensive Team member, Smart finished the 2021-22 season tied sixth in the NBA for total steals (119), tied fourth for loose balls recovered (75) and tied 10th for both deflections (206) and charges drawn (16).
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images