Yesterday the NBA announced their All-NBA Defensive teams. The Celtics’ very own Al Horford made the All-NBA Defensive second team. Though all names on the list were well deserving of the award, the one glaring name that was left off was Marcus Smart.
Marcus Smart is a Top Defender
Arguably the top defender on the league’s best defense, Marcus Smart has consistently been the team’s energy guy, bulldog, and tone setter. He makes hustle plays and does the dirty work for the team, diving on loose balls and always playing physical. He is constantly communicating on defense, directing the team to their spots and making adjustments on the fly.
Marcus Smart rips Embiid on defense and finds Tatum in transition for the alley-oop jam! pic.twitter.com/505HqfSulQ
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 10, 2018
Smart shows no fear on the court. He can switch 1 through 5 and often shut down the opponent’s best player. If there’s a loose ball and Marcus Smart is on the court, you can bet he will be laying out to secure the possession for his team.
Not the Same Without Him
Marcus led the Boston Celtics this season in overall defensive rating (min 15 minutes/game) with an impressive score of 99.4. When Smart went down with a hand injury towards the end of the season, the Celtics were outscored by 0.4 points per 100 possessions. In the 11-game span of his injury, that figure ranked 19th in the league.
Even after coming off two straight losses in Cleveland, the Celtics are 8-4 in the playoffs since Smart’s return to the lineup. Smart returned to action in Game 5 of the Milwaukee series. He instantly showed his impact on the defensive end, stripping Dellavedova and diving on the loose ball. He had been in the game for a total of 35 seconds, and already making an impact on defense.
Brad Stevens had this to say about Marcus Smart after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals:
“He’s as tough as they come. He’s a true competitor. Matches his intensity with a physical toughness. People talk about him all the time. Sometimes they focus on the things that don’t matter. Other times they focus on the fact that he impacts winning. We are really glad that he is on our team”
What do you think? Does Marcus Smart deserve an All-NBA Defensive team rep?