Instead, Smart was overshadowed by big men Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That didn't sit well with his Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown, nor did it with former C's Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine.
Perk and Scal believe guards -- namely Smart -- deserve more recognition for their defensive contributions that may not always show up in the box score. They explained why Sunday on Celtics Pregame Live.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.
"Marcus Smart guards 1-through-5, he does whatever the team needs him to do defensively," Perkins said. "This is why I hate when we get all caught up in these advanced stats and all this instead of actually watching the game and saying, 'look at this impact that Marcus Smart is bringing night-in and night-out.' And Jaylen Brown is right, he should be somewhere in the finalists. It's just disturbing to me."
"I don't think there's another player in the NBA that makes more big defensive plays," added Scalabrine. "Not just a stop or give me a defensive rating over 100 possessions. What about getting a big-time loose ball? A stop. A rebound. A blocked shot. Marcus Smart is that guy. Nobody in the NBA makes more big defensive plays than Smart."
Watch the full video below:
Why Marcus Smart deserved to be a Defensive Player of the Year finalist originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston