The Boston Celtics delivered an impressive preseason showing against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, making easy work of the fellow Eastern Conference squad amid their 41-point blowout victory. With three preseason contests left before officially starting their 2022-2023 regular season campaign, a few NBA general managers partook in an annual “NBA App GM Survey,” answering 50 questions regarding the league before opening night.
The Celtics, who fell just two wins shy of entering this season as defending NBA champs last season, are among those in the league with the highest expectations, according to the results.
Q: Which team will win the 2023 NBA Finals?
Despite the Celtics enduring some major preseason blows before taking the floor on opening night — such as the Danilo Gallinari and Robert Williams injuries and of course, the Ime Udoka scandal — Boston remains among the top teams, according to those in the front office’s league-wide. The Celtics received 11% of the votes and finished fourth behind the Milwaukee Bucks (first, 43%), Golden State Warriors (second, 25%), and Los Angeles Clippers (third, 21%). Last season, the Brooklyn Nets — who the Celtics swept in the first round of last season’s playoffs — were the overwhelming favorite with 72% of the vote.
Eastern Conference rankings
Last season came accompanied by a massively slow start for the Celtics, quickly finding themselves in discussions surrounding their underwhelming play, which placed them in the sixth seed before the All-Star break in February. Finishing their run at 51-31 and second in the East, leaves the Celtics with big shoes to fill yet again. The Celtics were voted to repeat their standings finish, receiving 45% of the votes for that spot and 21% to finish as the first seed. The Bucks, who finished below the Celtics last year as the third seed, received the most first seed votes (72%).
Who is the best small forward in the NBA?
Last season served as a major step in the growth and development of young star Jayson Tatum. The 24-year-old averaged a career-high 26.9 points, eight rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 45.3% from the field and 35.3% from 3-point range. After earning his third career All-Star honors and first career All-NBA First Team recognition, general managers across the league find Tatum to be among the best at his position, finishing atop some household names.
With 24% of the votes, Tatum finished second in the “best small forward” category which made him runner-up to Kevin Durant (Nets) who finished with 45%. However, Tatum got more votes than Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks, 17%), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers, 10%) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers, 3%).
What was the most underrated player acquisition?
During the offseason, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens acquired several veterans, adding some experienced depth with one of those additions finishing atop among those recognized. Malcolm Brogdon, entering his seventh year in the league, was voted the most underrated acquisition with 28% of first-place votes. The 29-year-old, who is excited to make his debut run as a Celtic, beat out P.J. Tucker (Philadelphia 76ers, 14%), John Wall (Clippers, 14%), De’Anthony Melton (76ers, 10%) and Bojan Bogdanovic (Detroit Pistons, 7%).
Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?
After years of receiving fan-favorite apperception for the defensive tenacity and energy contributed on a night-to-night basis, Marcus Smart finally brought home an NBA Defensive Player of the Year award last season — the first guard since Gary Payton (Seattle Supersonics, 1996) and the first Celtic since Kevin Garnett in 2008. Smart, 28, earned 41% of the first-place votes in the “best perimeter defender” category of the survey, listed above Jrue Holiday (Bucks, 31%), Kawhi Leonard (Clippers, 10%) and Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns, 7%).
Which is the best defensive team in the NBA?
Like Smart, the Celtics last year relied heavily on their defensive game, finishing first in the NBA in defensive rating (106.2). This category didn’t finish as much of a tight race with the Celtics earning an overwhelming majority of 69% of the votes which place them first, followed by the Warriors (second, 7%), Miami Heat (tied for third, 7%) and Bucks (tied for third, 7%).
Which team has the best home-court advantage?
Finishing 28-13 when playing in front of the TD Garden home crowd, the Celtics were the second-winningest home team in the Eastern Conference last season. With that being said, the survey results named the Celtics as the team with the second-best home-court advantage — finishing tied with the Denver Nuggets with 17% of the votes, and runner-up to the Toronto Raptors who finished first with 21%. The Celtics also received more votes than the Warriors (tied for fourth, 17%), Utah Jazz (tied for fourth, 14%) and New York Knicks (sixth, 7%).
The Celtics kick off their regular season against the 76ers on Oct. 18.