Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has his teammate's back.

The third-year Celtics forward, a first-time All-Star in 2020, expressed his belief that veteran guard Marcus Smart is deserving of the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year distinction while speaking to Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report.

Rooks: If the season was over today, who would be Defensive Player of the Year?

Tatum: It might sound biased, but I might give it to Marcus Smart.

I feel like lately all the guys that have won have been big men, and rightfully so. Rudy Gobert's won it a couple of times…I play with Smart, so I see him night in and night out and the effort he gives, and he guards 1 through 5. Any time he switches on a big man, it's not like we gotta go double-team him. He always makes plays, and he's been doing it for I think six or seven years now.

Tatum, 22, a former third-overall pick for the Celtics in the 2017 NBA Draft, came into his own, having a breakthrough season with the playoff-bound Boston club in 2019-20. He's advocating on behalf of sixth-year veteran Smart, 26, who has averaged 13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.6 steals per game in 53 appearances this season.

In the same interview, Tatum also answered as his MVP pick LeBron James, the star forward for the Los Angeles Lakers who leads the league in assists in his age-35 season and second with the Western Conference club. Tatum also awarded Memphis Grizzlies first-year point guard Ja Morant the Rookie of the Year accolade.