James Posey played for the Boston Celtics for only one season out of the 13 he played in the NBA. However, because he played such a vital role in the team winning its 17th championship back in the 2007-08 season, Celtics fans will always remember him. Even though Posey had already won a title with the Miami Heat two years prior at that time, it’s clear that he treasured his short time in Boston as he made an appearance at the Celtics’ Welcome Home Halftime Ceremony earlier this season.
So it’s always nice to hear it whenever he heaps praise on any current Celtic for their accomplishments. Such was the case when Posey praised Marcus Smart after winning the Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
I obviously have a little bit of a soft spot for the Celtics, but over the years, as I’ve watched Marcus, I always felt like he was exactly the kind of player I would want on my team. He has skills on both sides of the ball, but defensively, he’s not willing to give even one inch to his opponent, and that’s exactly why he’s become such a favorite in Boston.
Posey went on to talk about the value of versatility in today’s NBA and how that’s played a role in how some of the league’s current and all-time defenders have the reputations they do now while adding that’s precisely why Smart deserved to win the award.
To be honest, it feels a little weird arguing this point, because Draymond Green and OG Anunoby are two of my favorite guys to watch on the defensive end. I respect the hell out of Gobert and Adebayo, and I think that Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen are some of the best defenders ever. None of those guys are backcourt players. What they do have in common, though, is their versatility. And that’s what made Marcus Smart deserving of winning the award this year.
Some may point to Posey’s bias as a former Celtic for why he approves of Smart winning the award, but it’s hard to disregard Posey’s analysis of Smart’s defense knowing how good of a defender Posey was during his playing days.
Posey Offers a Wrinkle to the Defensive Player of the Year Award
Even though Smart winning Defensive Player of the Year was impressive given that guards don’t usually win such an award, many believed Smart won the award based on that narrative as opposed to actually being the league’s best defensive player. Fans can argue all day long about how deserving Smart truly is, but Posey came up with a proposal that could satisfy everyone.
Maybe the solution is for the league to separate the Defensive Players of the Year, and to give out the award to the best backcourt defender and the best frontcourt defender. That would probably take a little of the prestige away from the honor, but the truth of the matter is that bigs and guards have very different responsibilities to a team’s defense — it’s just really hard to compare those contributions directly.
Some fans may not be happy if the NBA did something like that because they want the best defensive player in the NBA to get the recognition he deserves, but Posey’s logic is very sound. Because everyone’s role on defense is different, bigs and guards who do their specific roles on defense the best deserve recognition for doing so.
This is not the First Time Posey’s Written Exclusively About Boston
Posey has talked about the Celtics on numerous occasions as a writer. Over the past year or so, he praised the team for hiring Ime Udoka as Head Coach, candidly talked about how shocked he was at Boston’s lack of urgency to keep him in the summer of 2008, and despite how all of that unfolded, still looks back on his time in Boston very fondly. That’s only to name a few.
This isn’t even the first time he’s talked specifically about Smart, as Posey named Smart as one of his favorite role players in the NBA last season. So it makes sense as to why Posey would make special mention of Smart again after winning such a prestigious award that doesn’t usually go to guards.