Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges headline 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team
May 21, 2022
The NBA announced on Friday that Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns are set to lead the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team. Rudy Gobert of Utah, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. were also appointed.
Smart, 2021-22 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, earned his third selection to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the third time after receiving 198 points (99 First Team votes). Bridges, who placed second in the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year voting, received 193 points (95 First Team votes). Bridges' selection to the team is his first.
Besides Smart and Bridges, other members of the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team include center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (171 points; 76 First Team votes), forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (156 points; 63 First Team votes), and forward Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies (153 points; 55 First Team votes).
Gobert, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, was selected to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team for the sixth consecutive season. Meanwhile, in the 2019-20 season, Antetokounmpo was the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, making it his fourth consecutive season on the list.
2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive Second Team
The Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo (152 points), the Bucks' Jrue Holiday (89 points), the Sixers' Matisse Thybulle (87 points), the Celtics' Robert Williams III (70 points), and the Warriors' Draymond Green (34 points) make up the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
Adebayo, Holiday, and Thybulle were previously named to the NBA All-Defensive Team. Meanwhile, Williams, Bridges, and Jackson join the team for the first time. On the other hand, Green was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team for the seventh time after being named the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2016–17 season.
Votes rationale for Defensive Player of the Year
In his fourth NBA season, Bridges became the league's most threatening sniper. Bridges is assigned to guard the opposing team's top scorer, not merely matched up by position. He accomplished it with quickness, effort, wingspan, and better than his defensive-minded peers for 2021-22.
According to a report, even though Gobert had won three of the previous four DPOYs, voting for Gobert seemed like a mix of resisting voter fatigue. The selection also weighed on his team's poor performance. This season, Utah finished 10th in defensive rating and ninth in opponents' field-goal percentage. The team is down to the fifth seed in the Western Conference standings, despite having the best record last season.
Smart, who has a lower center of gravity and more strength than Bridges, checks many of the same boxes as Bridges as a defender. However, he got the help of Robert Williams III, an All-Defense player. Boston's defense was also split into two halves, much like the season itself. In December, the Celtics were ranked ninth defensively, but they had risen to the first spot by the end of the season.
Green and Adebayo weren't on the court enough to be considered for this or any award. Neither played in 58 games, about 70 percent of the 82-game regular-season schedule. It is the NBA's standard for statistical champions like scoring and rebounding.