The NBA announced its All-Defensive First Team Tuesday night.
Headlined by the league’s top three candidates for Defensive Player of the Year – Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert were all named to the All-Defensive First team and the top three vote-getters. The DPOY recipient, Antetokounmpo, received 97 of 100 possible first-team votes, he finished with 195 points.
The other honorees include Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who earned his second consecutive All-Defensive First Team, and Philadelphia Sixers guard Ben Simmons, it’s his first All-Defensive First Team honor. Davis, who finished with 87 first-team votes, earned 187 points, Simmons was recognized with 88 first-team votes (180 points) and Smart finished with 57 first-place votes (152 points).
For Gobert, this is his fourth consecutive All-Defensive First team honor. Lakers All-Star Davis, who’s now made two first teams, has also made two All-Defensive second-teams.
2020 NBA All-Defensive Second Team
The Los Angeles Clippers’ defensive tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley along with the Milwaukee Bucks’ pair of Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe were named to the league’s All-Defensive Second Team. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo occupies the fifth and final spot.
Smart, who was the only guard named to the All-Defensive First team, became the first Celtics guard since Rajon Rondo (2009, 2010) to make back-to-back first teams. Kevin Garnett, who also accomplished the same impressive feat in recent history, achieved the same career mark in 2008 and 2009 for the Celtics.
Marcus Smart Making Celtics History
Before Marcus Smart was ever named to either All-Defensive Team, on a cold December night in Boston, Smart was asked why after two seasons he hadn’t been recognized and had this to say.
“It’s a popularity contest and I’m out there to play ball,” Smart said, via USA Today. “So I don’t need a piece of paper or something telling me I’m a great defender.”
By the end of the 2018-19 season, Smart was named to the 2019 All-Defensive First Team. This year, Smart has taken his defensive intensity up a notch, especially throughout the Celtics’ current playoff run.
Last month, when Antetokunmpo was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year it didn’t take long for us to see Smart’s teammate Jaylen Brown’s angry tweet surface on Twitter moments after the news was announced.
Smart, who’s typically the first player off of Brad Stevens’ bench, has had to pick up the load on both ends of the floor as a member of the starting lineup due to the loss of Gordon Hayward. The defensive marksman has made incredible stops throughout the Celtics’ best-of-7 series and after he lit the Raptors for five consecutive 3-pointers in Game 2 All-Star Jayson Tatum was asked a simple question.
Have you ever played with someone like Marcus Smart?
“I ain’t never played with anybody like Smart, I ain’t never met anyone like Smart,” Tatum laughed. “He is one of a kind. Anybody that watches him play knows him or ever plays with him knows that there’s nobody like Smart. Anytime I’m going to war, (I’ll) take him on my team every day of the week.”
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