Earlier this month, Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart made history by becoming the first guard since Gary Payton in 1996 to be named Defensive Player of the Year. Now, Smart has followed that up with his third appearance on the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Joining Smart on the First Team were Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. Rounding out the First Team were Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr.
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The Second Team was highlighted by 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, who was an All-Defensive selection for the seventh time in his career. Also on the Second Team: Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, Robert Williams III of the Boston Celtics, Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Here's a look at the full voting results:
Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart of Boston and runner-up Mikal Bridges of Phoenix received the most voting points in balloting for the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive Team.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 21, 2022
More ➡️ https://t.co/VpKETU9caP
Voting results ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/dUxDi2L2oc
Smart narrowly missed out on being a unanimous selection because one of the 100 voters left him off their ballot completely. Another interesting note is how close the race was between Jackson and Adebayo for one of the forward spots on the First Team. Adebayo actually had two more First Team votes, but Jackson received five more Second Team votes, which was enough to secure the First Team spot by one point.
There were 24 other players who received at least one vote. Most notably, Fred VanVleet did not make either team despite finishing with more points (41) than Draymond Green (34). Unfortunately for VanVleet, the teams are decided by position, and he did not have more points than any of the top-four guards.
Another interesting note is that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Derrick White were all among the vote-getters, which combined with Smart and Williams meant the Celtics had six different players receive votes. When you have players who come off the bench getting All-Defensive votes, you know you have a good defense.
One final item worth mentioning is that there were three rookies in the receiving votes category: the Cleveland Cavaliers' Evan Mobley (13 points), the New Orleans Pelicans' Herbert Jones (10) and the Toronto Raptors' Scottie Barnes (2). It's rare to see rookies make a major impact on the defensive end, but this class had three.