For years, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been considered one of the, if not the, best defensive players in the NBA. Once again, he is at or near the top of the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is not a believer though. But Smart didn't just talk a big game, he backed it up with factual information, as ESPN‘s Tim Bontemps noted.

“Let's think about it,” Smart said. “As a guard, especially on the team that switches a lot, especially on the No. 1 defensive team, you are worried about every single player. And here's the thing: When you see Defensive Player of the Year, that means he can guard all five spots.

“Nothing against Rudy, but Rudy can't guard all five spots. I can guard all five spots and I have been doing it. I've done it very well.”

Smart, along with his teammate Robert Williams, have both been in the discussion for the award as the season has unfolded. Sadly for Boston, Williams just underwent surgery for a torn meniscus. He is expected to be out four to six weeks, taking him out of consideration.

But Smart does make a valid point. Since he entered the league, Smart has easily been one of the best on-ball defenders in basketball. He is the defensive leader of the team that is by far the best defensive team in the league. Since January 1st, Boston's defensive metrics run circles around the entire NBA.

Celtics superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have garnered a lot of the attention. But Boston is a defensive team first and Smart is the physical and emotional leader.