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Gary Payton Says That Marcus Smart Is The Only Player Who Can Guard 1 On 1 Like Him

Marcus Smart Has Higher 3-Point Percentage Than Luka Doncic, Trae Young, PJ Tucker, And Devin Booker In The Last Three Seasons

Credit: AP

Gary Payton is the only point guard to win the DPOY. While he was known as a solid scorer and made many All-Star appearances, one of his defining traits was his defense. Gary Payton was an elite man-to-man defender and often took the toughest defensive assignments every night. Some have wondered what would have happened if he were to have guarded Michael Jordan for the full series when the Supersonics faced the Bulls in the Finals. He took pride in his defense to the extreme, taking on the challenge of any defensive assignments.

Recently, Gary Payton has discussed some players who play similarly to him in the modern era with an AMA with Bleacher Report. Payton mentioned some recognizable names but said that only one of them has his sort of man-to-man guarding prowess.

That's kind of hard. I'd say nobody, but guys like Marcus Smart does a great job on defense, he's starting to pick up his offense. My game was usually in the block. Beverley as well, he plays the defensive side. The only guy that can play 1-on-1 like me is Marcus Smart on being a defender.

Marcus Smart is one of the best defenders in the league. He is often one of those players that simply make winning plays on that end of the ball, and can often match up with players who are larger and stronger than him. Marcus Smart is an elite defender who has been improving his offense, so it is interesting to see Payton compare himself to Smart. Hopefully, Smart can continue his defensive exploits, and perhaps even win DPOY in the future.