He did it. He FREAKIN’ did it. Our dearest, most unpredictable son who must be protected at all costs was finally paid his due yesterday as he landed himself a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.
Don’t get it twisted either, this has been a long time coming. Smarf has been under the radar for years on the defensive end and has been regularly disrespected due to his reputation of being a flopper. This season however, he lit a fire under the Celtics once he was placed into the Starting 5 and put forth his best defensive season to date. He is an agent of chaos and someone who I’d go into battle with 10 times out of 10. His rag-tag style of play is something that is becoming a lost art in the NBA as the game continues to move towards finesse and 3-point shooting. There are a select few guys who make a living off of diving for loose balls, taking charges, and just being pests out on the court. Smart is one of those guys and in a totally unbiased opinion (it probably is biased but like come on), I’d say he’s the very best at it in the game today.
After such a tumultuous year where his mother passed away and things didn’t go as planned for the Celtics, he never wavered. He even came back in just 4 weeks from a torn oblique to be there for this team when they needed him most in the playoffs. While it didn’t workout in their favor, I can’t help but applaud what he did. Even though he was coming off of the injury he never let that effect his game. He came with the same fire, got on the floor, and did all of the little things that make us all love him so much. I have utmost respect for players like that and the fact that I get to root him on in a Celtic uniform for at least 3 more years makes me beyond happy.
I don’t think there’s another player in league history who’s defensive highlights are more entertaining than Marcus Smart. The effort he gives is unmatched and there’s a reason why the term “winning plays” is one we hear linked to Smart’s name day in and day out. He does not care about screens, he does not care if you are bigger than him, he does not care if you are better than him, he will hound you, and he will come up victorious more often than not. That is somebody I would take on my team 7 days a week and a guy who, no matter how he’s shooting, needs to be on the court.
My top three favorite Marcus Smart defensive plays:
- Him ripping the ball from someone with two hands in the most violent looking way possible
- CHARGES (duh)
- Blocking shots that he has absolutely no business blocking
It’s funny because those plays are all so specific but if you watch the Celtics, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. He literally has moves on defense and that’s something that I have never seen before. Manu had the Euro-Step. Marcus Smart has the This-Ball-Is-Mine-Now-Peasant move.
After finally getting on one of these teams we should see Smart on there regularly as the years go by. He still has one thing to conquer in terms of defensive accolades and that is a Defensive Player Of The Year award. It’s been billed as a big-man’s award for years and the last guard to take it home was Gary Payton (another junkyard dog) in 95-96. As Marcus Morris said in a tweet yesterday: “Every Team Needs Dogs!”. We got our dog and we’ll have him for a long time. Again, congratulations Marcus Smart, you deserve it.
Keep fighting for that banner, you’re my hero.
For your own enjoyment, check out Smart’s defensive highlights from over the years. I assure you your jaw will be on the floor at times and you’ll want to run through a wall by the end.