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Marcus Smart Wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

Smart is the first guard to win the award since 1996.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

For the first time since 1996, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year is shorter than 6-foot-7.

Marcus Smart, who played two seasons at Oklahoma State, was awarded the honor Monday. Smart, listed at 6-4, is in his eighth season with the Boston Celtics after the franchise took him with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Smart made 71 regular season starts for Boston this season. He had 119 steals in the regular season, which tied for sixth in the league. He had 19 games this season with at least three steals, including a pair of five-steal games. That all came while Smart averaged 12.1 points, 5.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds during the regular season.

He played outstandingly in the Celtics’ playoff-opening victory against the Brooklyn Nets this past weekend. He had 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals.

OSU fans should be familiar with Smart’s knack for stealing the basketball. He had 188 steals as a Cowboy, the second-most in program history. The crazy part about that stat is that it took him only two seasons to do it. His 2.9 steals per game is a Big 12 record among players with at least 60 games played. He had 99 steals as a true freshman (the most in a season in school history) and 89 steals as a sophomore (the third-most in a season in school history).

Gary “The Glove” Payton was the last guard to win the award, doing so after the 1995-96 season. The Glove showed up to present the award to Smart on Monday.

Smart isn’t the only former Poke who could walk away with some end-of-season hardware. Cade Cunningham was named a finalist for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award along with Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley. OSU was the only school with two finalists for the NBA’s awards.

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