Here’s how opposing NBA general managers view the Celtics


The NBA released its annual GM survey Tuesday. Here’s how they ranked the Celtics.

Jayson Tatum received votes in a number of categories, including two MVPs: most valuable player and most versatile player. Mary Schwalm/AP Photo

The Celtics will begin this season as the envy of the league, from fans to players to even general managers.

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The NBA released its annual General Manager Survey for the 2023-24 season on Tuesday. GMs from across the league were asked a variety of questions — from who will become champions to which new policy will be most difficult to adjust — and were not allowed to vote for their own team or its members.

The Celtics and some of its players and coaches received plenty of votes from these GMs across the board, including the biggest question of all: Who will win the 2024 NBA Finals? One-third of GMs who responded believe that the Celtics will take home the Larry O’Brien trophy this summer, tying the Denver Nuggets for first place.

Over half of the GMs in this survey (54%) believe that the Celtics will win the Eastern Conference, and 43% believe they will finish in second. The only other team who had nearly as many votes was the Milwaukee Bucks, who just recently acquired superstar Damian Lillard in a megadeal.

Speaking of Lillard, he was voted as the recent acquisition most likely to make an impact on his new team by a massive margin (47%). But the Celtics dominate this category otherwise, with Jrue Holiday coming in second place (13%) and Kristaps Porzingis finishing fourth (7%). Both players received votes for most underrated trade acquisition, a category won by Marcus Smart’s trade to Memphis that sent Porzingis to Boston (17%), which was voted as the second-most surprising move of the offseason (20%). Both of these acquisitions likely encouraged GMs to vote Boston as the one of the two teams (tied with Milwaukee) that made the best overall moves this offseason (23%).

Holiday was very well-represented in this survey. The newest Celtic was overwhelmingly voted as the best perimeter defender in the league (50%), as well as basketball’s second-best defender overall (13%). He also received votes for the best leader in the NBA, which could be why he, along with Houston’s Fred VanVleet, was named the fifth-best potential head coach among all active NBA players (7%). 

But Jayson Tatum was the Celtic who received the highest praise in this survey. He was confidently named as the league’s best small forward (47%) ahead of names like Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and he received the third-most votes for likeliest player to win MVP this season (13%), the highest place of any non-former winner of the award. Tatum tied for fifth place for highest percentage of total votes on position categories, and received votes in a variety of categories, such as most versatile player, best perimeter defender and the first player a franchise would sign if it began today.

Boston’s coaching staff was recognized in this survey as well. Sam Cassell and Charles Lee tied to become the fourth-highest voted assistant coaches in the NBA. They will assist head coach Joe Mazzulla — whose defensive schemes received votes as some of the best in basketball — and help him manage what GMs believe will be the fourth-most efficient offense in the league.

To wrap up the Celtics’ representation in this survey, Boston tied New York and Toronto as the team with the fifth-best home court advantage and rookie Jordan Walsh received votes for the biggest steal of June’s draft.

This season will be filled with plenty of expectations for Boston after coming just short of a championship in two consecutive seasons. But to GMs around the league, it seems as though the Celtics are more than capable of getting right back into contention.