Ah yes, the annual NBA GM Survey. I love this time of year. It's one thing for morons like me and talking heads who will basically say anything just to garner buzz to give takes leading into the NBA season. It's another for actual NBA GMs to weigh in considering you know, they live this shit. I put way more stock into what they say than NBA Twitter for example, so let's have a look at what stood out.
Alright, no real surprise off the bat here. The Nuggets as defending champs deserve to be at the top, and people predicting the Celts will win the title is certainly nothing new. We've been living that life since the end of 2021-22. Unfortunately, they have yet to do it which I'll admit has me triggered a little bit. It's not my fault really as I've also had to deal with shit like this over the last two seasons
Disaster level jinxes like you read about. Am I skeptical that's what GMs across the league are trying to do with this? You bet your ass. So for the sake of not ruffling the feathers of the Basketball Gods by disrespecting the defending champs, I'd be OK with bumping the Celts down to 32%.
I will say 23% for the Bucks seems a little low given how they were immediately talked about after the Dame deal, are GM's not buying that duo or something? Worried about the health/depth in MIL? New coach? Pretty big drop from 43% last year after adding Damian Lillard if you ask me.
One of the things that will be very funny this year is how we can immediately go back to acknowledging that Jokic should win every MVP for the foreseeable future after all the bullshit he had to deal with last year. That got to a level that was truly embarrassing. Well now that he has his ring and Embiid got his sympathy MVP, we don't have to try and find ways to justify not giving Jokic the MVP.
In terms of Tatum, I am a firm believer in the MVP curse. No MVP has won a title since Curry in 2014-15. I have no problem if Tatum doesn't get MVP as long as he wins the title and then Finals MVP. Until he gets that elusive ring, I'm not going to worry about his regular season MVP.
The drop for Luka is surprising, especially since this is the most talent he's basically ever had around him in DAL. Maybe GMs think the Mavs still might stink anyway? If they're good, I feel like the Luka MVP narrative will be in full swing.
I said it earlier this summer, I am IN on the Magic this season. I truly think they could be this year's Beam Team in a sense that they will be way better than some people think. I'm talking a 6-8 seed type of season. It seems like NBA GMs agree, because 2 of the top 5 guys are on the Magic.
Ant Edwards is the easy choice of course given what we saw from him with Team USA, but don't sleep on his teammate Jaden McDaniels. He looked awesome last year and then so far this preseason.
Finally, NBA GMs are acknowledging what Celtics fans have known for some time now. Jayson Tatum is the best small forward in basketball. Sorry if this offends. It was always confusing to me that KD kept being voted ahead of him, despite the fact that Tatum destroys him every time they play
Also, stop trying to tell me Luka is a SF. He's not a small forward. He's a point guard. Maybe if you want to tell me he's a 2 when sharing the floor with Kyrie, fine. But in no way is Luka a wing.
It shouldn't be a surprise who is at the top of this list. The Bucks and Celts had franchise altering offseasons. The caliber of players they added are clear and above the rest of the league, and both are making a pretty big gamble that each is the missing piece to bring their team a title.
The Bucks obviously have the pressure of winning now to ensure Giannis stays.
The Celts obviously have the pressure of finally breaking through and winning their first title of this Tatum/Brown era, and they certainly paid a hefty price to make it happen.
I was surprised to see the Suns so low, I mean all the Mavs did was draft an unproven rookie and bring in Grant Williams/Seth Curry/Richaun Holmes. Is that really better than what PHX did? Maybe GMs don't love the Ayton trade or something?
The only player listed in the top 5 that doesn't have a DPOY is Jrue Holiday. Well, if there's one thing I know about Celtics Twitter, it's that we can will a DPOY into existence. Shit, we did it with Smart. So now that Jrue has that in his corner, don't be surprised if we make it happen again this season.
Mazzulla Ball 2.0 folks. No longer is it about just taking and making threes, this version is also going to be about defense. On paper, they addressed their biggest issue defensively in my opinion when it comes to guarding the P&R given how awesome KP was at it last year, but to see them with that type of percentage was a little shocking.
Replacing Jrue with Smart handles the perimeter, but losing Rob will definitely impact things for a while. But when you have two All NBA defenders on the perimeter, two legit wing defenders and then an elite rim protected/P&R defenders in the frontcourt, there's no excuse for the Celts to not have the best defense in the NBA.
I know the Celts went 32-9 at home last year during the regular season which matched the Bucks for the best in the West, but I also know that homecourt advantage didn't mean dick once the playoffs rolled around. They were a team that simply could not stop losing games at home. One to the Hawks, two to the Sixers, and three to the Heat.
I would have left them off completely to be honest until proven otherwise. How can you have a homecourt advantage if you don't really get the advantage of playing at home in the biggest games of the year?
The best part of this survey of course is it means the NBA regular season is on the horizon. It's so close you can almost taste it. The preseason games are fun and definitely help scratch the basketball itch, but I'm ready for the real thing.