At this point, we might as well call it the Marcus Smart Award.
The Boston Celtics guard was announced Thursday as the winner of the 2022-23 NBA Hustle Award, an honor bestowed on a player who "makes impactful effort plays that might not appear in the box score."
Smart also won the award last year and is the first-two time winner of the award since its debut in 2016-17. In fact, Smart has now won the Hustle Award in three of its seven years of existence, while no other player has won more than once.
NBA Hustle Award winners by year
- 2022-23: Marcus Smart
- 2021-22: Marcus Smart
- 2020-21: Thaddeus Young
- 2019-20: Montrezl Harrel
- 2018-19: Marcus Smart
- 2017-18: Amir Johnson
- 2016-17: Patrick Beverley
Smart beat out Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and former Celtics teammate Aaron Nesmith to win this award, with New York Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson and New Orleans Pelicans win Herbert Jones rounding out the top five.
That Smart has dominated this category won't surprise Celtics fans, who have seen him make plenty of "winning plays" over his nine-year NBA career. While the veteran guard can be an inconsistent scorer and streaky shooter, he always plays with maximum effort and prides himself on doing whatever it takes to win.
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In that sense, the Hustle Award is the perfect honor for Smart. While he finally earned recognition for his defense last season by winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, it's hard to quantify his importance to the Celtics if he's not putting up gaudy high-line stats.
The league has made strides in that department, though, with NBA.com noting that Smart ranked among the top 30 players in several "hustle stats," including charges drawn, loose balls recovered, deflections and box outs.
Or if those stats don't do it for you, there's also plenty of video evidence.