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Boston Celtics Guard Marcus Smart won DPOY and he was presented the award by the last guard to win, Gary Payton.
Marcus Smart has officially won the title of Defensive Player of the Year. Smart received 37 first-place votes and 18 second and third-place votes. His overall total of 257 points landed him the honors of DPOY. Besides Smart winning the award, another highlight was that the award was presented to him by none other than “The Glove” himself, Gary Payton.
“Congratulations man, you deserve it, man. Now it’s two of us,” Payton said to Smart.
Marcus Smart becomes the second guard to win DPOY
Payton was the last guard to receive the award in 1996 and now Smart will have the honor of joining Payton as the only two guards to win it in recent memory. Smart has been a terror of the defensive end this season. He averages 1.7 steals, 3.2 defensive rebounds, and 0.3 blocks per game. He is such a problem on defense, that his colleagues have given him their respect. 2017 DPOY winner Draymond Green congratulated Smart on his win, via FanNation.
“That’s a guy I respect as a defender,” Draymond said of Marcus Smart. “I’m extremely happy for him. Well deserved, with where that team’s defense went, it changed their season. And he is right in the middle of all of that. I got no complaints.”
After the All-Star break, the Celtics built their game around defense and were able to turn their season around, finishing second in the eastern conference. On Sunday afternoon, their defense was on full display against the Brooklyn Nets. In the final minutes of the game, the Celtics were able to get a defensive stop on the Nets that led to Tatum making the game-winning layup.