Marcus Smart won’t back down so easily from the outside comments regarding his capturing of last year’s Defensive Player of the Year plum.
Smart hits back against Bam Adebayo, wherein the Miami Heat star hurled a shade and announced that he should have won the award in the previous two seasons.
“Bam, come on now,” Smart said on ESPN’s “NBA Today” with Malika Andrews and Kendrick Perkins. “Bam’s a good guy, a good friend of mine. But me and Bam both know that’s a lie. The things I was doing at that time at my size was different and last time I recall Bam, I blocked your shot as well.
“That should let you know everything you need to know right there.”
Adebayo finished fourth in the DPOY race for both 2020-21 and 2021-22, as Rudy Gobert and Smart filled the first-place spots, respectively.
Throughout the past few years, the big man has been vocal about his disappointments in coming up short of winning the defensive award. As such, last season, it was a remarkable fashion when Smart obtained the honor.
Becoming the first point guard to bring home the recognition since Hall of Famer Gary Payton in 1996, Smart served as the primary lockdown engine of the Cs, helping the club to tally the top-rated 106.2 defensive ratings. He also anchored the team in points allowed per game (104.5) while holding opponents to the lowest field goal percentage (43.4) and three-point field goal percentage (33.9).
If Adebayo managed to play plenty of games wherein he was limited to less than 57 appearances in each of the seasons he mentioned, then the discussion might be different.
At the end of the day, Adebayo still has more years in front of him to snag the award. As he is set to hit his prime years, he can only hope to remain healthy and be crowned as the league’s best defensive cager one day.