The results of the annual GM survey were published today, and two teams, who are coincidentially our biggest rivals, were in the spotlight. This could either be good news or bad news depending on your perspective. Personally, I like it more when the rivals get such attention because it adds to the pleasure of beating them.
Before diving into the results, I'd like to remind you that these are the same GMs who decided to overpay so many players the year immediately after the dreadful lockout. Yet again, to be fair, none of them picked Carlos Boozer to have a breakout year unlike my favorite ESPN analyst Scoop last year, so their opinion still counts more. (If only we could get rid of Kahn/Buffoon's answers, it would be of more value)
First of all, only 3.3% of the respondents picked (I guess that roughly translates to one GM) the Celtics to win the Eastern Conference, even though 66.7% expects us to clinch Atlantic Division (more GMs think we'll win the division this year than last year). In other news, even though 62.1% thinks that Brooklyn Nets will be most improved team this year, only some of that 13.3% think they could win the division. That indicates either GM's lack of arithmetic skills or the fact that Nets sucked so much that even a huge improvement is not enough for them. Oh well.
Deron Williams is also confused as to what that implies.
Talking about improvements, Celtics get a lot of respect in the "most underrated player acquisition" category with Jason Terry (13.3%) and Courtney Lee (10%). Even Darko Milicic got vote(s). Considering that last year's winner was Brandon Bass, Ainge probably deserves a nickname with the words "silent" or "sneaky" or... Anyway, you get the idea.
Respect for Ainge doesn't end there as the "rookie most likely to be a sleeper success" is Sullinger with 17.2% of the votes.
Other players that got love from GMs were Rondo ranking 3rd (6.9%) in the "best point guard" category (also ranked 3rd fastest player and 3rd best passer while getting votes for highest basketball IQ) and KG ranking 5th in the "best PF" section (6.7%), getting votes for the best defensive player and getting praise for his leadership skills (ranked 2nd after Chris Paul). The Avery-Rajon duo also got a well-deserved respect for their perimeter defense as they ranked 3rd in that category.
Just ask Udrih.
Boston defense, overall, was selected the 3rd best defense in the league, and that shouldn't be a shocker to anyone.
Last but not least, Doc got a lot of love along with Pop in any coaching-related category, further proving that Ainge's best recent move was locking Doc for 5 years.
That sums up the Celtics-related portion of the survey. You should read the whole list if you're interested in what the GMs think, but then again, roughly 97% of them fail at their jobs in one way or another every year, so why bother, right?