The results of the league’s annual survey of the team’s 30 general managers from across the league was released to the masses yesterday on NBA.com: Mentions of the C’s came quite early and often, so here’s a quick run through the thoughts from the masterminds behind this season’s contingent of NBA squads.
Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
1. Miami — 96.7%
2. Boston — 3.3%
Last year: Miami — 96.3%
CH’s thoughts: With GM’s inability to vote for their own teams over the course of the survey, it’s safe to say Pat Riley was likely the only individual that penciled in the Celtics as Eastern Conference champions this season, as the 29 other GM’s that could vote for the defending champs made their voices heard. No surprises there, just some added motivation for the C’s and rest of the Eastern Conference. Also fun to note that Miami’s prediction percentage went up this year as the NBA appears to have been able to pull in all 30 GM’s for the survey this year, as opposed to last season when only 27 GM’s took part. (26/27 = 96.3%)
Which team will win the Atlantic Division?
1. Boston — 66.7%
2. Brooklyn and New York — 13.3%
4. Philadelphia — 6.7%
Last year: Boston — 64.3%
CH’s thoughts: With all of Boston’s offseason upgrades to the roster, not as strong of a favorite in the Atlantic as you might expect, although that is largely based off the talent improvements around the rest of the division. Judging from preseason action and given the value of continuity in the division, I would flip Philadelphia to the number two spot in these rankings. A lot of talent on that squad if Andrew Bynum is able to get his knee troubles in order and get back out on the floor.
Who is the best point guard in the NBA?
1. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers — 69.0%
2. Derrick Rose, Chicago — 20.7%
3. Rajon Rondo, Boston — 6.9%
4. Tony Parker, San Antonio — 3.4%
Last year: Derrick Rose — 59.3%
CH’s thoughts: Hard to argue with these rankings, although Rose remaining on such a high perch despite his likeliness to be sidelined for more than half the season raises question marks. Here’s hoping Danny delivered these results to Rondo personally for some added fuel for the All-Star.
Who is the best power forward in the NBA?
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota — 30.0%
2. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas — 23.3%
3. LeBron James, Miami — 16.7%
4. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland — 10.0%
5. Kevin Garnett, Boston, and Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers — 6.7%
Also receiving votes: Tim Duncan, San Antonio; Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
Last year: Dirk Nowitzki — 41.4%
CH’s Thoughts: A few of these GM’s must have only watched Celtics games before the All-Star break last season. And don’t give me the KG is still considered a power forward excuse since a bunch of GM’s are noting position changes here by considering LeBron a power forward now. Maybe they just know Garnett hates playing center and they feel bad about it. However you slice it, still quite a feat for Garnett to be considered the best by a couple GM’s, as a 36-year-old.
What was the most underrated player acquisition?
1. Andre Iguodala, Denver — 16.7%
2. Jason Terry, Boston — 13.3%
3. Courtney Lee, Boston — 10.0%
4. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans, Andrei Kirilenko, Minnesota, Brandon Roy, Minnesota, Lou Williams, Atlanta — 6.7%
Also receiving votes: Ray Allen, Miami; Marcus Camby, New York; Gerald Green, Indiana; Grant Hill, L.A. Clippers; Chris Kaman, Dallas; Kyle Lowry, Toronto; O.J. Mayo, Dallas; Darko Milicic, Boston; Steve Nash, L.A. Lakers; Alexey Shved, Minnesota
Last year: Brandon Bass, David West — 15.4%
CH Thoughts: Danny Ainge places twice here! The Terry mention is no surprise, but I have to say I didn’t expect to see Lee on this list given the impressive players listed in fourth place. And hey look, a cameo by Darko! I actually really want to know which GM voted for him. Based on last year’s results, these GM’s clearly know what they are talking about after the fact with these underrated acquisitions. Remember when the C’s almost got David West too before last season? I wonder how that would have changed things last season.
What was the most surprising move of the offseason?
1. Steve Nash to the Lakers — 39.3%
2. Bynum/Howard/Iguodala trade — 17.9%
3. Knicks not matching Jeremy Lin offer — 14.3%
4. Ray Allen to Miami, Joe Johnson to Brooklyn — 10.7%
Also receiving votes: Jeff Green’s contract, Luis Scola amnestied by Houston
Last year: Chris Paul to the Clippers — 33.3%
CH’s Thoughts: Kudos to the individual voting for Mr. Green here for injecting some comedy/giving a voice to any person that follows the Celtics closely has been wondering about all summer with the length and salary numbers on Green’s contract. Although, if we are judging based upon preseason performance, a case could soon be made that Jeff Green is a max player. I’m kidding….I think.
Which rookie is most likely to be a “sleeper” success?
1. Jared Sullinger, Boston — 17.2%
2. Maurice Harkless, Orlando, Andrew Nicholson, Orlando — 13.8%
4. Jae Crowder, Dallas, Damian Lillard, Portland — 10.3%
6. Terrence Jones, Houston — 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Jared Cunningham, Dallas; Andre Drummond, Detroit; Evan Fournier, Denver; John Jenkins, Atlanta; Perry Jones, Oklahoma City; Doron Lamb, Milwaukee; Donatas Motiejunas, Houston; Terrence Ross, Toronto
Last year: Norris Cole — 44.0%
CH’s Thoughts: No surprises here with the love for Sullinger, although I’m wondering whether the person who voted for Darko earlier for an underrated move was also tempted to place a vote for Fab Melo in this category.
Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?
1. Tony Allen, Memphis — 33.3%
2. LeBron James, Miami — 26.7%
3. Avery Bradley, Boston, Andre Iguodala, Denver, Rajon Rondo, Boston, Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City — 6.7%
Also receiving votes: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers; Eric Gordon, New Orleans; Dahntay Jones, Dallas; Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers
Last year: Tony Allen — 26.9%
CH’s Thoughts: Good for Avery to get some well due recognition. On a side note, is it bad I’m still a little bitter that Danny Ainge wasn’t able to convince Allen to re-sign after 2010? That contract he signed with Memphis (3 years, 10 million) was one of the best bargains of the entire summer! And Ainge gave Nate Robinson 2 years and 10 million shortly after Tony bolted! Can you imagine if this team had Bradley and Allen shutting down the perimeter? How fun would that be to watch?
Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio — 80.0%
2. Doc Rivers, Boston — 13.3%
Also receiving votes: Rick Adelman, Minnesota; Erik Spoelstra, Miami
Last year: Gregg Popovich — 42.3%
CH’s Thoughts: I guess Pop really won everyone over with his performance last year. Hard to argue with it really, but with both teams having equitable talent this season, it’ll be fun to judge whether Doc or Pop manages their squad better over a full 82-game slate.
This was only a mere sampling of some of the questions, so be sure you check out the full survey over at NBA.com which was put together by John Schuhmann. In the meantime, opening night is a mere week away so get ready for us to really ramp things up here at CelticsHub over the next week as we prepare for the opener in Miami.