With the season just a few weeks away, NBA.com released the results of their GM survey today. Although some may question the value of these surveys before actual games are played, it is always interesting to see how the league’s top executives view various teams and players. Here’s where the Golden State Warriors landed in this survey.
These are all the categories throughout the survey where the Warriors appeared as a team:
- Western Conference Ranking: Warriors, 5th
- Which team will be most improved: Warriors, Tied for 2nd
- Which team is the most fun to watch: Warriors, 2nd
Overall, the league feels the Warriors should be significantly better than last year, but not title contenders just yet. The survey did not list the Warriors as a team that could win the NBA Finals this year. In addition, the survey results had them placing at 5th in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets.
It makes sense that the Warriors tied for second place as the most improved team. They are a significantly better team coming into this year than the play-in team they were last season. The Warriors will have All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson back at some point this season which is a huge improvement by himself. They signed savvy veterans like Andre Iguodala, Namanja Bjelica, and Otto Porter Jr. as well as drafted a pair of lottery picks in Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. They are expecting big developments from Jordan Poole and James Wiseman. Add that to the team that features the best offensive player in the game in Stephen Curry and a top 5 defensive player in Draymond Green, the Warriors should be a lock for the playoffs with the upside of winning it all if everything goes right.
These are categories throughout the survey that listed specific Warriors’ players and coaches:
- Who will win MVP: Stephen Curry, 6th
- Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments: Curry, 1st
- Best point guard: Curry, 1st
- Most versatile defender: Draymond Green, 4th
- Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people: Steve Kerr, Tied for 2nd
- Which head coach runs the best offense: Kerr, 2nd
- Best assistant coach: Kenny Atkinson, Tied for 1st
- Best pure shooter: Curry, 1st
- Best without the ball: Curry, 1st
- Who do you want taking the last shot: Curry, 2nd
Warriors players and coaches were well represented on this list. Steph’s elite offensive reputation among the league’s GMs was made clear by several of his first-place rankings. In the vote for “Best pure shooter”, Steph had 90% of the vote, the largest margin of all the categories. However, it should be noted that he was listed at 6th in the projected MVP rankings behind Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and James Harden. Meanwhile, Draymond’s defensive reputation amongst GMs had him with 7% of the vote for most versatile defender behind Giannis, Ben Simmons, and LeBron James. Other than that, the high rankings of Steve Kerr and new assistant coach, Kenny Atkinson, shows that the league acknowledges the quality of the Warriors coaching staff. The new additions to the staff in particular should be significant in giving the team a new perspective on their approach.
Here are the remaining categories where the Warriors were among others who received votes but not enough to appear in the listing:
- Best home court advantage: Warriors, others receiving votes
- Best defensive player: Green, others receiving votes
- Active player who can become a coach: Green, others receiving votes
- Best leader: Curry, others receiving votes
The Warriors go into the new season with an optimistic outlook from the rest of the league’s executives. Although the team is not perfect, they have the foundation and upside to possibly make some noise come playoff time.