With the 2021-22 regular season almost over, the favorites to win individual awards are becoming much more obvious. While the MVP race is as close as ever, the same cannot be said for the Defensive Player of the Year award race.
As per the recent DPOY ladder released by the league, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo looks all set to win the second DPOY accolade of his career. The Greek Freak is having a sensational season and is leading the Bucks to one of the best records in the East.
Although Giannis winning the DPOY award almost seems certain, nothing is set in stone right now. In fact, the Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was second only to Antetokounmpo in the latest rankings.
While most are arguing which player out of the two might bag the accolade, it seems like Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart has other plans. In a recent interview, Smart claimed that he thinks he deserves to win the accolade. When he made the claims, he also took an obvious shot at Gobert.
"Let’s think about it. As a guard, especially on the team that switches a lot, especially on the No. 1 defensive team, you are worried about every single player. And here’s the thing: When you see Defensive Player of the Year, that means he can guard all five spots. Nothing against Rudy, but Rudy can’t guard all five spots. I can guard all five spots and I have been doing it. I’ve done it very well.”
Although Smart mentioned that his comments meant no shot at Gobert, most fans wouldn't see it like that.
If Rudy wins the 2022 DPOY award, it will be the fourth time in his career and will join elite company with the likes of Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace.
Can Gobert make history this season? Or will it be Marcus Smart who will take home the DPOY trophy home for the first time in his career? We will find out in just a few weeks.