Atlantic Notes: Smart, Nets Front Office, Raptors, Barrett

Celtics starting point guard Marcus Smart, already the Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Defensive First Teamer, has added another end-of-season honor to his résumé.

The league has given Smart the 2021/22 NBA Hustle Award, per a press statement. The award is given to players who contribute to their teams in ways that transcend traditional box score statistics, including deflections, screen assists, box-outs, loose balls recovered, drawn charges, and contested shots.

Smart previously won the award for the 2018/19 NBA season. With the hardware this year, he becomes the first-ever two-time recipient of the honor, which debuted during the 2016/17 season.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • With Nets assistant coach Ama’re Stoudemire moving on and David Vanterpool and Adam Harrington also expected to join the exodus, head coach Steve Nash‘s bench could look quite different next season, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Former Hornets head coach James Borrego could be a target as a seasoned assistant for next season. Lewis adds that Brooklyn may make some changes to its front office personnel as well, mentioning that consultant Steve Clifford could also be looking to depart.
  • Raptors All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet may be open to signing an extension with Toronto, but his decision could ultimately be dictated by the free agent market this season, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic in a new mailbag. Koreen also projects the Raptors’ starting lineup heading into next year, identifies the team’s biggest offseason need, and more.
  • Knicks small forward RJ Barrett, who missed New York’s final game of the year with a knee sprain, appears to be recovered and ready to play for Team Canada in this summer’s World Cup qualifiers, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
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