Can Marcus Smart finally win his first DPOY? Joined once again to wrap up the regular season, Justin and Liam dive into a season outlook. The Celtics have had one of the most magical regular season turnarounds in the modern era starting 23-24 only to turn it around and finish 51-31. The wild success from the season has stemmed a lot of award nominations for our guys in green.
Most notability, Marcus Smart is leading the race as the leagues Defensive Player of The Year. Following closely behind is the Suns Mikal Bridges and Utah’s Rudy Gobert. There has been an outpouring of support for number 36 to win this award dating back to the 2016 season but every year he has missed out on recognition. After a 2021-22 season that saw Smart average 1.7 steals and disrupt opposing offenses in his usual flow, critics noticed. Will Smart secure the award that has long eluded him? Is this his last opportunity to come away with the award in his career?
Now, who captained this once sinking ship to its new found homeland? That would be first year coach, Ime Udoka. The former Spurs assistant coach was the brunt of many criticisms from the podcast early on. As the new year passed though things clicked between Coach and team. The unit went on a revolutionary win streak and our gripes slowly withered. While he hasn’t been free of mistake, Ime has the Celtics as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. A feat that looks damn near impossible after a buzzer beating loss to the Knicks.
With such a stunning debut as a coach, Udoka has earned himself a spot in the NBA Coach of The Year discussion. Unlike his starting Point Guard though, Ime is far from the favorite. In a season with so many incredible story lines the Celtics 28-7 finish could only land the newbie as fifth best odds to win the coveted award. Ime Udoka stands at +1500 behind the likes of Monty Williams, Spo, and Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins.