Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has yet to see a loose ball he didn’t want to dive towards with reckless abandon.

He’s more than that, though, and everybody with even a close eye on Celtics basketball knows that; Smart has slowly emerged as a premier stopper in a guard-dominated NBA landscape, with a fearless attitude that’s provided a heartbeat and attitude to the C’s whenever he’s on the floor.

It’s been more than enough for Brad Stevens to confidently deploy Smart in any and every situation late in a game.

And it appears Stevens wants to see Smart recognized outside of Boston, too, openly campaigning for Smart to receive some All-Defensive love from the voters ahead of Thursday’s head-to-head with James Harden and the Rockets.

“Marcus is a really good defender who probably should have been on All-Defensive teams before and for whatever reason has not been,” Stevens said in his pregame meeting with the media. “Maybe everybody can write a little blurb on him. That would be nice because he should be on it every year. He’s a great defender.”

But the 24-year-old Smart is not losing sleep over the lack of national recognition for his efforts.

“I think that I do a pretty good job,” Smart said of his defensive acumen. “These five years I’ve been here I’ve been showing and showcasing that I am one of the top defenders in this league and things like that, but I don’t let [not winning an award] get me too worked up. On things like that, I know what I bring on the court to my team and to the game.

“So I’m not really worried about it if a piece of paper or somewhere online doesn’t say that I’m on some type of team that guys that, I don’t know, who just wants to see certain guys there. That type of stuff. It’s a popularity contest and I’m out there to play ball. So I don’t need a piece of paper or something telling me I’m a great defender.”

Of course, the praise may have come on the wrong night, as James Harden dropped 45 points on Smart and the Celtics in a 14-point victory over the Green, led by a 9-for-18 mark from deep.

Still, the 6-foot-4 Smart will have more than enough time (especially on national TV) to make up for it and earn his first All-Defensive nod, especially if Stevens continues to campaign outside Boston limits.