Marcus Smart takes pride in becoming the first point guard since Gary Payton in 1996 to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. So when Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo said he deserved the honor over him, he took that personally.
Adebayo made that statement in a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks. He claimed that he should've earned back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards because over Rudy Gobert and Smart due to his ability to guard 1 through 5.
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Smart responded on ESPN's NBA Today with Malika Andrews and Kendrick Perkins.
“Bam, c’mon now. Bam’s a good friend of mine but me and Bam both know that’s a lie,” the Boston Celtics guard said. “The things I was doing at that time at my size was different. Last time I recalled, Bam, I blocked your dunk as well. So that should tell you everything you need to know right there.”
Adebayo finished fourth in DPOY voting in 2020-21 and 2021-22. He's once again among the favorites to win the award in 2023, currently possessing the third-best odds behind the Memphis Grizzlies' Jaren Jackson Jr. and Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez.
Smart is focused on a greater goal than the Defensive Player of the Year award this season. The Celtics have been the top team in the Eastern Conference all year and are the favorites to bring home a championship in June.