The Celtics have even more to cheer about days after a thrilling Game 1 victory over the Nets.
Marcus Smart became the first guard to win Defensive Player of the Year since Gary Payton in 1995-96, and the two have something in common — they were both underpaid in their respective eras.
Payton made $2.8 million in 1995-96 — 82nd in the league that year. Smart’s $14.3 million is 90th — and a similar bargain for a team with the best defensive rating (106.2) and points allowed per game (104.5).
Smart is locked in for another four years and $77 million, accepting Boston’s offer after considering holding out for something in the $90 million range.
For comparison, last year’s DPOY Rudy Gobert became the highest-paid center in NBA history (five years, $205M).
Smart is the longest-tenured Celtic — and only the second player in franchise history — to win the award (Kevin Garnett, 2007-08).