In a few hours, I’ll post a more detailed reaction to the results, published today, of the NBA’s annual pre-season survey of all 30 general managers. (That post will focus entirely on Rajon Rondo).
For now, here are the Celtic-related tidbits you might find interesting:
• 60.7 percent of respondents think Boston has the best defense in the NBA—#1 in the poll (duh). The Spurs finished 2nd and one NBA GM voted for the Lakers. No one else received a vote, not even the Magic, the best defensive team in the league last season by most sophisticated measures.
This is both disrespectful of Orlando (not ONE vote!??) and a sign of the immense and well-deserved respect KG has earned. Just the prospect of a healthy KG—an uncertain prospect, still—running around, screaming and jumping out on screen/rolls is enough to sway a majority of the voters.
• Not one voter listed the Celtics as the most “fun” team to watch. Bah. The Lakers topped the poll, followed by Orlando (some respect!) and Denver. Even the Knicks got a vote. And the Hawks, who play slow as molasses.
What—the other 29 GMs don’t like physical defense? And well-executed offense?
• Ray Allen still gets respect as the best pure shooter in the league—57.1 percent of responding GMs named him as such, easily the top mark. (Jason Kapono was 2nd, and, in an absolutely travesty of justice, the Clips Steve Novak, maybe the prettiest shooter in the league, did not receive a single vote. For shame).
• At least one NBA GM (Danny Ainge, maybe?) does not think much of Big Baby’s natural talents. He received a vote for player who “does the most with the least.” The category is otherwise dominated by white and/or European players (Memo Okur just beat out Matt Bonner for the title).
I understand Baby’s presence here. He’s a large dude who can’t really jump high, has problems finishing around the rim and isn’t exactly sprinter fast. (Unfortunately, DraftExpress does not appear to have Baby’s pre-draft measurements. I’d love to know his college-era vertical leap). But he has a sort of underrated, tough-to-notice athleticism. Baby slides well on defense and positions his body in the low post to maximize his leverage against taller guys. He also has a knack for slipping through small creases in the defense and finding just enough space to flick up an awkward looking—but effective—close-range shot.
That’s athleticism, right?
Note: Whichever GMs voted for Steve Nash and Tim Duncan here….well, I don’t want to say something like “they shouldn’t have jobs!” because they know more 100 times more about hoops than I ever will. But come on. Can you honestly watch those guys play and say they are aren’t amazingly gifted athletes?
• More respect for KG: GMs ranked him the 3rd-toughest player in the league (behind Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant) and 4th in the “best leader” poll (behind Chauncey Billups, Kobe and Duncan). Question for GMs: Not one of you voted Reggie Evans toughest player? That dude scares me through the television.
• No Celtic received a vote in the “highest basketball IQ” poll. (Nash won).
• The GMs only kinda like the Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels signings. ‘Sheed finished tied with Antonio McDyess for 2nd place (three votes each) in the “underrated off-season move” category, and the Grand Marquis received one vote. But no GM—not one—thought the C’s had the best overall off-season. In fact, only two teams—Orlando and the Spurs—got votes there.
• One GM thinks the C’s still have the best home court advantage in the league. Cleveland topped the list, thanks to one great year at the Quicken Loans Arena. (Is there a worse name for an arena in any sport?).
• Oh—60.7 percent of respondents picked LA to win the title. The C’s tied Cleveland for 2nd (with five votes each, it appears).
It’ll be fun proving a majority of the league’s decision-makers wrong, won’t it?