Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been named the winner of the 2021-22 NBA Hustle Award, the league announced today. Smart becomes the first two-time winner of the Hustle Award after first earning the honor following the 2018-19 season.
NBA Hustle Award Winners
|2021-22||Marcus Smart||Boston Celtics|
|2020-21||Thaddeus Young||Chicago Bulls|
|2019-20||Montrezl Harrell||LA Clippers|
|2018-19||Marcus Smart||Boston Celtics|
|2017-18||Amir Johnson||Philadelphia 76ers|
|2016-17||Patrick Beverley||Houston Rockets|
The Hustle Award, which debuted in 2016-17, rewards players that do the little things that don’t often show up in the traditional box score but have been tracked since the NBA debuted its Hustle Stats during the 2016 postseason. Hustle stats include deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn, screen assists, contested shots and box-outs.
Marcus Smart’s Hustle Stats and Rankings
|Hustle Stat||Per 1 Minute||Rank|
|Defensive Loose Balls Recovered||0.017||10th|
|Offensive Loose Balls Recovered||0.015||21st|
|Defensive Box Outs||0.044||25th|
|Offensive Box Outs||0.001||68th|
|Contested 2PT Shots||0.071||99th|
|Contested 3PT Shots||0.090||48th|
Note: Rankings among the 139 eligible players that played a minimum of 58 games (70% of team total of 82) and at least 24 minutes per game.
Smart ranked seventh in the league in charges drawn on a per-minute basis and finished in the top 25 in five different hustle categories. All hustle stats are measured on a per-minute basis as to even the comparison among players that play varying amounts of minutes per game.
Not every player will dive on the court for a loose ball – Smart finished tied for fourth with 75 loose balls recovered this season. Not every player will stand in front of an opponent driving to the hoop to take a charge – Smart finished tied for 10th with 16 charges drawn in the regular season and leads all players in the playoffs with eight charges drawn in 12 games.
Not every player has the instincts and awareness to play the passing lanes and disrupt the opposing team’s offense with deflections – Smart finished tied for 10th with 206 deflections this season. Not every guard wants to mix it up with power forwards and centers to fight for rebounding position – Smart led all guards with 104 boxouts and finished with a career-best 3.2 defensive rebounds per game this season.
Smart’s hustle mentality and effort helped him become the first guard since Gary Payton in 1995-96 to be named Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He helped the Celtics lead the NBA in defensive rating (106.2), points allowed per game (104.5), field goal percentage allowed (43.4%) and 3-point percentage allowed (33.9%).
The eight-year veteran finished the regular season with averages of 12.1 points, a career-high 5.9 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals (7th in NBA) and 0.3 blocks in the traditional box score stats. But Smart’s true impact can’t be fully measured without including his hustle stats, his energy plays that can turn the tide of a game without appearing in the traditional box score, plays that set a tone of effort and desire to win that can be felt by teammates, opponents and fans alike.
2021-22 Hustle Award Top Five Finishers