The Boston Celtics are one of the top teams in the NBA due to their outstanding team basketball and defensive effort. Marcus Smart has become one of the team's defensive anchors, and Jayson Tatum just loves to play alongside him.
In fact, Tatum gave his teammate one of the highest praises one can give to any budding defender. Brian Robb tweeted out the praise he gave Smart after their 113-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Jayson Tatum on Marcus Smart: “He’s the best defender in the league.”
— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) January 14, 2020
It's quite a huge thing for him to say that Smart is the best defender in the NBA when there are plenty of outstanding talent in the league. Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a couple of other names will be more than happy to challenge Tatum's claim on his teammate.
It's not like the Celtics talent is lagging behind when it comes to production, either. He's providing solid season averages of 11.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks a game. He had an equally superb game against the Bulls, notching 12 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals in 33 minutes of action.
Smart is always bringing energy on the defensive end and is more than willing to guard the team's best scorer. His peskiness allows him to get steals, and he has the ability to lock onto a defender.
It's due to his efforts that Tatum and the Celtics' other scorers can focus on expending their energy more on offense. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that Smart is one of the reasons why the Celtics are the second-best teams in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics will continue to count on him for defense, and that will be something Smart will be more than happy to provide.