NBA.com released its annual GM survey Thursday morning, and while the Celtics are well represented in many of the answers, they aren’t as well represented as they were in 2018. Here are three Celtics takeaways from the 2019 NBA GM survey.
Jayson Tatum could be primed for a breakout.
One of the questions asked was which NBA player is most likely to have a breakout season. Coming away tied for second with 11 percent of the vote was the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum. Last year Tatum didn’t have the season he would have liked, as he didn’t make the jump many expected from him following his rookie season. This didn’t deter voters, though, as Tatum received a larger percentage of the vote in this year’s GM survey than last year. In 2018, Tatum finished in second place behind Denver’s Jamal Murray with 10 percent of the vote.
This year’s favorite to break out with 19 percent of the vote is the Sacramento Kings’ third-year point guard De’Aaron Fox. Tied with Tatum was the Memphis Grizzlies’ forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
Brad Stevens didn’t get a single vote for best coach.
Going into the 2018-19 season, Stevens was regarded as one of the NBA’s best coaches. In last year’s NBA GM survey, Stevens was voted the NBA’s best coach with 47 percent of the total votes. This season, not only did Stevens lose his first-place spot, but he also didn’t receive a single vote for the NBA’s best coach. This year’s winner of that category was longtime Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who snagged 55 percent of the votes.
Stevens also lost first place in the category of “Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments?” to Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, who got 28 percent of the vote. While Stevens won this category last season with 53 percent of votes, he did manage to still finish in second at 17 percent.
Over half the voters believe they’ll finish third in the East.
Last year’s Celtics were undoubtedly the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. In 2018, 90 percent of voters believed the team would top the Eastern Conference. Seven percent of voters even believed the Celtics would win the NBA Finals. It’s a much different story this season, with the Celtics receiving no votes to finish first, with 52 percent of voters believing that they’ll end the regular season in third place. They also didn’t receive a vote for the team most likely to win the 2020 NBA Finals.