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Marcus Smart takes it personal when being counted out as an elite defender

LeBron James, Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics talent Marcus Smart is taking over the Tony Allen mantle as one of the most feared defenders in the league. In true Uncle-Tony-like fashion, he also takes exception when he’s not mentioned along some of the league’s greatest defensive aces.

“I’ve been a great defender my whole life,” Smart told Michael Pina of VICE Sports. “It’s kind of embarrassing when I see or hear people and I’m not even mentioned in any defensive teams or discussions or anything like that. It’s a slap across the face.”

Thought the all-around spark plug understand how his name could slip through the cracks at times.

“I get it. It’s about popularity,” Smart added. “You tell me who in the league is a better defender than I am, especially on the perimeter. There’s not many guys. Guys in this league know the type of defender I am, and they know when you go up against me you’ve gotta bring it because I’m gonna bring mine.”

Smart isn’t the greatest shooter or finisher, but he makes up with it with guts unlike any other player on the court — diving for loose balls and attempting steals that most defenders wouldn’t dare to gamble on.

Backed up by a great defense behind him, Marcus Smart has learned to trust his instincts and repeated film study to get an edge over his opponent, even if it’s the likes of LeBron James or Ben Simmons, like he has during this month.

The 6-foot-4 pride of Oklahoma State is posting 10.5 points and 1.9 steals in this postseason and if the Boston Celtics make the NBA Finals, best believe his name won’t be forgotten in that conversation.