The Boston Celtics didn’t get a whole lot of respect in this year’s NBA App GM Survey. The league’s 30 general managers gave their thoughts on the upcoming season, responding to 50 questions relating to individual and team honors, offseason moves, and various other predictions.
It’s a fun way to begin the 2022-23 season, which begins Oct. 18. The Celtics, fresh off their first Finals appearance since 2010, have high expectations, but it doesn’t appear many of the general managers feel the same way.
NBA GMs believe the Boston Celtics won’t win the championship
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Celtics are the betting favorite to win the 2023 NBA title at +600. NBA general managers don’t see it that way.
In the survey, 43% of the GMs have the Milwaukee Bucks winning the championship. They don’t even have the Celtics second or third. The Golden State Warriors collected 25% of the votes, while the Los Angeles Clippers received 21%. The Celtics received the fourth-highest percentage of votes with 11%.
The Bucks also got 72% of the votes for winning the Eastern Conference. Boston got 21%, while the Brooklyn Nets had 7%.
Jayson Tatum wasn’t in the running when it came to predicting the league MVP. Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was the favorite with 48% of the votes. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo garnered 34%. Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid had 14% of the votes, and Stephen Curry of the Warriors had 3%.
Tatum did, however, finish a distant second to Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets when it came to the league’s best small forward. Durant got 45% of the votes. Tatum had 24%.
When it came to the player most likely to have a breakout season, no Celtics player was in the running. Thirteen players received votes, with Cleveland’s Evan Mobley leading the way with 21%.
Things got weird for the Celtics on the defensive side of the ball
It’s understandable why GMs would have questions about the Celtics, despite their strong finish last season. Center Robert Williams will miss the first two months or so after undergoing surgery on his knee. Newcomer Danilo Gallinari, brought in to help a shaky bench, tore his ACL in Italy this summer. The biggest news, however, is the loss of head coach Ime Udoka.
The Celtics suspended Udoka for the entire season for violating team guidelines. The suspension stems from a relationship he had with a staff member. Last year, the Celtics struggled early under Udoka, going 25-25 through the first 50 games. They closed the regular season by winning 26 of 32 games.
A major reason for the turnaround was their effort on defense. The Celtics were one of the better defensive teams in the league, with veteran guard Marcus Smart coming away with Defensive Player of the Year honors.
In the survey, eight players got votes for the best defensive player in the NBA. None of them went to a Celtics player. Antetokounmpo (48%), Draymond Green (24%), and Rudy Gobert (10%) were the top vote-getters. Others receiving votes were Ben Simmons, Bam Adebayo, Jrue Holiday, Kawhi Leonard, and Andrew Wiggins. Smart and Williams, one of the league’s top shot blockers, were shut out.
Despite not having any DPOY votes, the survey did have the Celtics as the best defensive team, collecting 69% of the votes. Golden State was second at 10%. Smart was also named the league’s best perimeter defender.
The Celtics only made some noise in two other categories. Malcolm Brogdon was the most underrated player acquisition (28%), and the Celtics finished second to the Toronto Raptors when it came to the team with the biggest homecourt advantage.
The Celtics didn’t get a whole lot of love in the 50-question survey. While Vegas might think highly of Boston, it seems like most GMs don’t quite agree.