Celtics forward Jaylen Brown believes his teammate Marcus Smart was snubbed of a nomination for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award and took to social media to express his frustration.
Brown wasn’t the only person upset about the news. Celtics fans also took time from their Saturday afternoon plans to criticize the list of finalists or list reasons why Smart is most-deserving of a nom; Brown’s tweet got straight to the point.
Marcus Smart the best defender in the NBA night in night out
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) August 8, 2020
2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Finalists
This year’s three finalists include Jazz center Rudy Gobert (13.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 0.8 steals per game), the league’s reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year recipient, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (13.7 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal per game), and Lakers center Anthony Davis (9.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.4 steals per game).
Due to COVID-19, voters of the media were asked to consider only games played through March 11 – the night the league suspended its season. The other nominations are as follows:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (29.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists per game)
James Harden, Rockets (34.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.5 assists per game)
LeBron James, Lakers (25.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 10.3 assists per game)
Rookie of the Year
Ja Morant, Grizzlies (17.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists)
Zion Williamson, Pelicans (22.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game)
Kendrick Nunn, Heat (15.2 points, 3.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds)
Sixth Man Award
Montrezl Harrell, Clippers
Dennis Schröder, Thunder
Lou Williams, Clippers
Most Improved Player
Bam Adebayo, Heat
Luka Dončić, Mavericks
Brandon Ingram, Pelicans
Coach of the Year
Mike Budenholzer, Bucks
Billy Donovan, Thunder
Nick Nurse, Raptors
The Celtics’ ‘Heart & Soul’
It didn’t come as a surprise to see one of Smart’s teammates immediately come to the guard’s defense mere hours after the finalists were announced. Smart, the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, shares a close bond with members of the team on and off the court.
Following Friday’s impressive 122-100 win over the Raptors, All-Star forward Jayson Tatum credited Smart for his encouraging words from the team’s bench. In what’s turned into a newfound advantage for teams playing in a fan-less arena, players have been more vocal from the sideline now that there aren’t crowds of spectators around to drown out voices.
Tatum took the opportunity to express what kind of player Smart is and what he means to the team.
“Marcus is the heart and soul of the team,” Tatum said. “He brings so much more to the team that doesn’t show up in the stat book. So just hearing his voice and him talking on the court, off the court, it can help us. When he’s doing that we’re a better team.”
Was Ben Simmons Also Snubbed?
Sixer All-Star guard Ben Simmons, the league’s leader in steals, also did not make the finalist list for Defensive Player of the Year, thus surprisingly giving Celtics and Sixers fans something they could both agree on. Unfortunately, Simmons has a bigger issue to deal with after learning that he will require left knee surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee.
No timetable has been set for his return.