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Derrick White earns NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors, Marcus Smart made neither team

Derrick White earns a nice bonus while last year’s DPOY missed placement completely.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA released the Kia NBA All-Defensive First and Second teams, and one Boston Celtic starting guard made the cut. Derrick White, an iron man who played all 82 games with lockdown defense, earned a nice $250,000 bonus by being named to All-Defensive Second Team in one of the guard spots next to O.G. Anunoby. Marcus Smart, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year and First Team member didn’t qualify for either team this year.

Derrick White led all guards in total shots blocked this year, swatting away 76 shots. That’s 11 more than the next guard, Shai Gilgeous Alexander. White filled a big hole in Boston’s defense this year because of his ability to handle smaller guards. Smart typically struggles with the Kyrie Irvings and the Trae Youngs because of their foot speed, but White is leaner and quicker, giving Boston way more options defensively.

In addition to being available all the time, which is a huge skill, White genuinely was Boston’s second best (and sometimes best) player during one stretch early in 2023. He’s been a huge asset for the Celtics in this second push for a championship, and this award just cements how comfortable he’s become in Boston’s schemes to the point where his individual performance on that end is highlighted with an award.

Marcus Smart finished fifth in guard voting, with 35 points compared to Dillon Brooks’ 54 points. You do with that information what you will.

To the voters’ credit, Marcus Smart did regress on the defensive end this year. Dealing with an ankle injury sustained all the way back from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals push, Smart admitted that he still wasn’t 100% on it to start the year. While he’s still capable of locking down anyone at any time (that block against Isaiah Hartenstein was generational), this is a regular season award, and Smart saved his best plays on both ends for the playoffs where he’s been sensational so far.

Here are the full teams:

All-Defensive First Team

  • G: Alex Caruso
  • G: Jrue Holiday
  • F: Jaren Jackson Jr. (2022-23 DPOY)
  • F: Evan Mobley
  • C: Brook Lopez

All-Defensive Second Team

  • G: Dillon Brooks
  • G: Derrick White
  • F: O.G. Anunoby
  • F: Draymond Green
  • C: Bam Adebayo

In addition to Marcus Smart, other snubs include previous DPOY winners Rudy Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo. At least for the former, he still has something to play for this season as the Celtics will take on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight in a pivotal Game 5 in the series that’s currently tied 2-2. Maybe he’ll use this as motivation to keep up his high level of play and take the series advantage.

Tip off is tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

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