NBA GMs Like Celtics’ Offseason Moves, Title Chances

The Celtics and Bucks made the best overall moves this offseason, according to the NBA’s general managers. In his annual survey of the league’s top basketball decision-makers, John Schuhmann of writes that 23% picked Boston as having the best summer, while another 23% picked Milwaukee. The Trail Blazers (17%) and Lakers (13%) were among the other clubs who received multiple votes.

Of course, the Celtics’ and Bucks’ pre-camp trades for Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard, respectively, were huge factors in the positive perception of their offseasons. Of Schuhmann’s GM respondents, 47% said the Lillard acquisition was the most impactful move of the offseason, while Boston’s addition of Holiday placed second at 13% (the Celtics’ trade for Kristaps Porzingis tied for fourth, at 7%).

Both Boston and Milwaukee are viewed by the league’s general managers as good bets to compete for the title in 2024. The Celtics were selected by 33% of Schuhmann’s respondents as the team that will win the championship the season, while the Bucks got 23% of the vote share. No other Eastern club received a vote, with the Nuggets (33%), Suns (7%), and Clippers (3%) representing the only other teams that were chosen as potential champs.

Here are a few more interesting results from Schuhmann’s GM survey, which is worth checking out in full:

  • As much as the NBA’s general managers like Boston’s roster, it was the Grizzlies‘ acquisition of Marcus Smart from Boston that was voted as the most underrated player addition of the summer (17%), narrowly edging out the Mavericks‘ sign-and-trade for Grant Williams (14%).
  • The NBA’s GMs are high on the Thunder. Oklahoma City was the runaway winner as the team with the league’s most promising young core (73%) and also earned the most votes for which club will be most improved in 2023/24 (30%).
  • Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama got plenty of love from the league’s GMs. He was the top choice for Rookie of the Year (50%) and was the overwhelming pick for which rookie will be the best player in five years (90%). He also placed second among the players Schuhmann’s respondents would most want to start a franchise with today, with his 23% vote share trailing only Nikola Jokic‘s 33%.
  • NBA GMs expect Ime Udoka of the Rockets to be the head coach that has the biggest impact on his new team (57%), followed by Monty Williams of the Pistons (17%).
  • Jordi Fernandez of the Kings, viewed as a future NBA head coach, comfortably won the vote on the league’s best assistant (31%).
  • The NBA’s GMs consider Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (23%), Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (20%), and Magic forward Franz Wagner (13%) the top candidates for a breakout year.
  • Which rookie was the biggest steal in the 2023 draft? Rockets wing Cam Whitmore (43%) was the top choice, with Jazz guard Keyonte George, Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson, and Heat forward Jaime Jaquez each receiving 10% of the vote.
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