Celtics' Marcus Smart Says 'It's An Honor' to Be Compared to Warriors' Draymond Green

Erin WalshJune 1, 2022

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) dribbles the ball during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, two of the best defensive players in the NBA, have no shortage of praise and respect for each other heading into their NBA Finals matchup.

Smart told reporters Wednesday he appreciates comparisons to Green, who has helped lead the Warriors to three NBA titles over his 10-year career.

"It's an honor to be compared to a guy of Draymond's caliber," Smart said. "You know, a champion, a great leader, a great defender and, you know, he does what he does very well, so I like to look at myself as that way, and I definitely take some notes on Draymond and the way that he leads, the way that he plays the game."


"It's an honor to be compared to a guy of Draymond's caliber."<a href="https://twitter.com/smart_MS3?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@smart_MS3</a> on defensive comparisons between himself and <a href="https://twitter.com/Money23Green?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Money23Green</a> <a href="https://t.co/7hitHAmQ1B">pic.twitter.com/7hitHAmQ1B</a>

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Monday he thinks Smart is "like the guard version of Draymond":

"His strength and his anticipation, he’s got an incredible feel for the game at that end. ... He's reading angles, he's guarding all five positions, if he switches on to a five man, he's so strong, he can hold them off. He's quick enough to chase point guards around, big enough to guard wings so he can literally guard 1-5 in the modern game. He's appropriately named, very smart player and really versatile and great, great defender.”

Green also lauded Smart during a press conference Wednesday: "He thinks the game. You can see it on the floor. ... And he's a great leader. And he's grown so much. It's been really good to watch."

Smart has always been a tremendous defender, and his efforts this season landed him the Defensive Player of the Year Award, making him the first guard to win the trophy since Gary Payton in 1996.

The 28-year-old was the driving force behind Boston's top-ranked defense, finishing the regular season seventh in steals per game (1.7), first in loose balls recovered per game (1.1) and fifth among guards with a 105.2 defensive rating.

Smart also had 106 deflections and drew 16 charges, both 10th-best in the NBA, and averaged a career-high 3.2 defensive rebounds per game.

As for Green, he averaged 6.3 defensive rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. The 32-year-old also finished with 113 deflections, 38 loose balls recovered and 389 contested shots.

Green won the Defensive Player of the Year Award during the 2016-17 season and has earned All-Defensive honors seven times.

Smart has been the better defender this year, though, and if the Celtics win the title, he could be a candidate for Finals MVP with the way he's been playing. Game 1 is set for Thursday at Chase Center in San Francisco.