Celtics guard Marcus Smart sounds off on looming return of Gary Payton II
Marcus Smart has made good on his promise as a game-altering defender. The Boston Celtics guard has been known for his hard-nosed defense since his college days at Oklahoma State.
Smart claimed the coveted Defensive Player of the Year award for this season, presented to him by the only other guard to ever win it – Gary Payton.
He is the first guard to receive the award since Gary Payton in the 1995-96 season. pic.twitter.com/kunKEW6ujj
— NBA (@NBA) April 18, 2022
Asked about that moment and drawing comparisons to the Seattle Supersonics legend, the Celtics star was humbled and spoke candidly about facing off against his son in the coming days.
Coming of out college, watching his tapes and him telling me I remind him of him and then to see his son (Gary Payton II), who’s the spitting image, comes in, and we all know what he can do on that end too. So it’s special to be on the same court as that guy. I’m glad to see him back from his injury and excited to get that opportunity to go against him.”
Gary Payton II has been out of action since getting injured during the Warriors’ Western Conference Semis matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. But with GPII literally begging Steve Kerr to let him play after making huge strides in his recovery, Smart may have some competition in the backcourt stopper department throughout the rest of the NBA Finals