General managers across the NBA have spoken, and apparently were just as shocked about the Boston Celtics’ offseason moves as the rest of us.
The league on Monday released its annual GM survey ahead of the 2021-22 season, and those who build rosters for a living anticipate the Brooklyn Nets will win the NBA Finals with Kevin Durant being named MVP. GMs also voted they were most intrigued about the Miami Heat’s offseason additions, but the Celtics raised some eyebrows as well.
It all started with Brad Stevens’ promotion to president of basketball operations after Danny Ainge’s retirement, which led to Ime Udoka’s hiring, a trade to get out of Kemba Walker’s contract and a few other deals and signings.
Here’s where the Celtics stand after all of it — according to the NBA’s general managers.
— Which new or relocated head coach will make the biggest impact on his new team? Udoka had the second-most votes (14%) behind Rick Carlisle of the Indiana Pacers.
— Boston came in at No. 3 when it came to the team with the most promising young core behind the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets.
— Damon Stoudamire received votes for the best assistant coach in the NBA.
— Danny Ainge stepping down from his duties as president of basketball operations received votes as the most surprising move of the offseason.
— Dennis Schröder landing in Boston on a deal was considered one of the more underrated player acquisitions.
— Marcus Smart got some respect, with some voting for him as the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
All in all, 7% of GMs see the Celtics finishing third in the Eastern Conference, while a 21% majority saw fourth place being a little more realistic.
Boston defeated the Orlando Magic in its first preseason game Monday, and starts the regular season on Oct. 20 against the New York Knicks.