2021-22 NBA All-Defensive Teams: Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart headlines the first team

2021-22 NBA All-Defensive Teams: Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart headlines the first team

Earlier this month, Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart made history by becoming the first goaltender since Gary Payton in 1996 to be named Defensive Player of the Year. Now, Smart followed that up with his third NBA All-Defensive First Team appearance.

On Friday, ahead of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks, the league finally announced the All-Defensive teams.

Joining Smart on the first team were Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who finished second and third, respectively, in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Rounding out the first team were Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr.

The second team was highlighted by 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, who was an All-Defensive selection for the seventh time in his career. Also in the second team: Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, Robert Williams III of the Boston Celtics, Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and Matisse Thybulle of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Here’s a look at the full voting results:

Smart narrowly missed being a unanimous selection because one of 100 voters dropped him completely from his ballot. Another interesting note is how tight the race was between Jackson and Adebayo for one of the first-team forward spots. Adebayo actually got two more first-team votes, but Jackson received five more second-team votes, which was enough to secure the first-team spot by one point.

There were 24 other players who received at least one vote. Most notably, Fred VanVleet didn’t make any team despite finishing with more points (41) than Draymond Green (34). Unfortunately for VanVleet, teams are decided by position, and he didn’t have more points than any of the top four guards.

Another interesting note is that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Derrick White were all among the voters, which combined with Smart and Williams meant the Celtics had six different players receiving votes. When you have players coming off the bench and getting All-Defensive votes, you know you have good defense.

One final item to mention is that there were three rookies in the votes received category: Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers (13 points), Herbert Jones of the New Orleans Pelicans (10) and Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors ( 2). It’s rare to see rookies have a major impact defensively, but this class had three.

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