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Warriors takeaways from the 22-23 NBA GM Survey

NBA GMs have spoken and here’s what they think about Golden State this upcoming season.

Steph Curry talks to Steve Kerr on the bench Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the league released the results of their annual NBA GM Survey. From categories like “Title Favorite” to “League MVP”, this survey polls general managers across the NBA on various questions regarding the upcoming 2022-23 regular season.

To no surprise, the defending champion Golden State Warriors are heavily represented on this list, so here are a few takeaways from this year’s survey.

GMs think Warriors are not the title favorites

Which team will win the 2023 NBA Finals?

1. Milwaukee Bucks – 43%

2. Golden State Warriors – 25%

3. LA Clippers – 21%

4. Boston Celtics – 11%

Not to discredit a talented Milwaukee Bucks team led by one of the best players in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the defending champs deserve a little more confidence placed in them.

The Warriors bring back ten players from last season’s title-winning roster including their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Thompson will be another year healthier, Andrew Wiggins and Kevon Looney thrive in their roles with the team, and the Warriors’ young core has shown a lot of promise while adding another year of experience.

If that wasn’t enough to make their case, Golden State also gets the return of center and former second overall pick James Wiseman — who showcased his potential impact during the team’s first two preseason games.

The rest of the league may have improved, but this should still be the Warriors’ championship to lose until further notice.

Steph Curry is still the league’s best point guard

Who is the best point guard in the NBA?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 72%

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 14%

3. Chris Paul, Phoenix – 10%

4. Trae Young, Atlanta – 3%

Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 52%

T-2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 14%

T-2. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 14%

T-4. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 7%

T-4. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 7%

At 34-years-old and coming into his 14th season in the league, Curry is still viewed as the gold standard of the point guard position. His 72% share of the vote for best point guard is a significant jump from the 27% of first place votes he received a year ago.

Curry’s impact on the Warriors offense is obvious. His automatic shooting, limitless range, and constant movement forces defenses to adjust by consistently putting two defenders on him — leaving the defense vulnerable to a classic Warriors’ 4-on-3 attack at the rim.

Making the decision not to double Curry proves to be even worse — as the Boston Celtics found out the hard way during last season’s NBA Finals. In that series, the Celtics forced Curry to beat them off the screen in an effort to prevent their defense from having to make help rotations. The results were lethal as Curry went on to average 31.2 points while shooting 43.7% from three on 11.8 attempts per game. His 43-point performance in Game 4 at Boston shifted the momentum of the series as the Warriors went on to win the Finals — giving Curry his fourth NBA championship and his first ever NBA Finals MVP.

Draymond Green leads an elite Warriors defense

Who is the best defensive player in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 48%

2. Draymond Green, Golden State – 24%

3. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota – 10%

» Also receiving votes: Bam Adebayo, Miami; Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee; Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers; Ben Simmons, Brooklyn; Andrew Wiggins, Golden State

Who is the most versatile defender in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 41%

2. Draymond Green, Golden State – 31%

3. Bam Adebayo, Miami – 7%

Which is the best defensive team in the NBA?

1. Boston Celtics – 69%

2. Golden State Warriors – 10%

T-3. Miami Heat – 7%

T-3. Milwaukee Bucks – 7%

Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?

1. Marcus Smart, Boston – 41%

2. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee – 31%

3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers – 10%

4. Mikal Bridges, Phoenix – 7%

» Also receiving votes: Paul George, LA Clippers; Ben Simmons, Brooklyn; Andrew Wiggins, Golden State

If Curry is responsible for the Warriors identity on offense, Green is responsible for their identity on defense. Green’s versatility and defensive IQ have made Golden State special on that side of the court for the past decade. Before injuries began to pile up for him, he was considered the favorite for defensive player of the year, and by the end of the season, was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team.

Also noteworthy is the inclusion — or lack there of— of Andrew Wiggins on this list. Although he received votes for best defender and best perimeter defender, it was not enough to put him in the top four in any category of the survey.

Wiggins was consistently tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player and proceeded to lock them down each time. Wiggins’ elite on-ball defense led to him being named an All-Star starter for the first time in his career and was critical to the Warriors winning an NBA championship. His reputation as one the league’s best defenders should only grow with another great season.

Steve Kerr and Warriors coaching staff well-respected throughout the league

Who is the best head coach in the NBA?

1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 52%

2. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 22%

T-3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 7%

T-3. Monty Williams, Phoenix – 7%

5. Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers – 5%

Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people?

1. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 38%

2. Monty Williams, Phoenix – 28%

3. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 14%

T-4. Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers – 7%

T-4. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 7%

Which head coach runs the best offense?

1. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 62%

2. Chris Finch, Minnesota – 14%

T-3. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee – 7%

T-3. Nick Nurse, Toronto – 7%

Who is the best assistant coach in the NBA?

T-1. Kenny Atkinson, Golden State – 34%

T-1. Charles Lee, Milwaukee – 34%

3. Adrian Griffin, Toronto – 7%

» Also receiving votes: Ron Adams, Golden State; Malik Allen, Miami; Sam Cassell, Philadelphia; Chris Fleming, Chicago; Alex Jenson, Utah; Igor Kokoskov, Brooklyn; Chris Quinn, Miami

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr finished second in the survey for best coach behind only the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra. Like all coaches in every sport, Kerr has his moments where he can drive the fanbase crazy, but despite this, he is still regarded as one of the best coaches in the league.

His 629-429 regular season win-loss record as the Warriors head coach gives him a 68.2% win percentage for his coaching career — highest among active coaches. He is also 93-34 in the playoffs and has won 4 championships with the team.

Despite the departure of assistant coach Mike Brown — who left the team to become the head coach of the Sacramento Kings — the league’s GMs still view the rest of the Warriors coaching staff in high regard.

Lead assistant Kenny Atkinson received the most votes for best assistant while assistant coach Ron Adams also received votes for the category. Several other Warriors assistant coaches are expected to be head coaching commodities during the next offseason which is a testament to Kerr and the team’s ability to build a good staff.

Other Warriors miscellaneous:

Most fun to watch: 1. Golden State Warriors – 52%

Best home-court advantage: T-4. Golden State Warriors – 14%

Most efficient offense: 1. Golden State Warriors – 38%

Best pure shooter: 1. Stephen Curry – 91%; 2. Klay Thompson – 5%

Best at moving without the ball: 1. Stephen Curry – 81%; 2. Klay Thompson – 12%

Best leader: 2. Stephen Curry – 22%

Taking a shot with the game on the line: 1. Stephen Curry – 55%

League MVP: 4. Stephen Curry – 3%

Final thoughts

Although this survey can be an interesting representation of how top executives view certain teams and players, it’s usually more for fun conversation than providing anything meaningful. For context, this same survey last year had zero percent of GMs voting for the Warriors to win the championship and also predicted that the team would finish fifth in the Western Conference overall. Still, with Warriors tip-off just two weeks away, it’s interesting to see where they stack amongst the rest of the league.

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