UTAH JAZZ

Marcus Smart Wins DPOY Over Gobert

Apr 18, 2022, 5:27 PM
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz - Boston Celtics...
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) is fouled by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the fourth quarter. The Boston Celtics host the Utah Jazz in a regular season NBA basketball game at TD Garden in Boston on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Marcus Smart has been named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, earning the nod over Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges.

This is the first time Smart has won the award after leading the Celtics to the best defense in the NBA.

Gobert had won the award three of the last four seasons, prior to leading the NBA in rebounding this season, and finishing third in blocks per game.

The Jazz center is one of only three four players to have won DPOY at least three times in their career, joining Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, and Hall of Famers Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallakce, each of whom won the award four times.

“First of all, congratulations to Marcus,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s a terrific defender, not just in the things that he does physically on the court, but his tenacity, his leadership on the defensive end, and he’s someone I know that our whole team, including Rudy really, really respects.”

Smart averaged 12.1 points, 5.9 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals for the Celtics this season who finished with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

The award is a unique one for Smart who becomes the first guard to be named DPOY in nearly three decades.

Seattle Super Sonics guard and Hall of Famer Gary Payton was the last guard to earn the award in 1995-1996.

Smart won the award by earning 37 first place votes, 18 second place votes, and 18 third place votes totalling 257 points.

The Suns Bridges earned 202 total points, while Gobert finished third with 136 points.

Gobert earned just 12 first place votes, fourst most among all players (Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo earned 13 first place votes), 18 second place votes, and 22 third place votes.

Mark Eaton is the only other Jazz player to have earned the award, being named DPOY twice in 1985 and 1989.

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