2022-23 Kia Season Preview

NBA App GM Survey

The NBA's decision-makers respond to 50 different questions in the annual survey.

In last season’s NBA App GM Survey, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks were not the favorite to repeat. Instead, the favorite was the Brooklyn Nets — the team that had just lost to the Bucks in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

This year, the Bucks lost in Game 7 of the conference semis. Now they’re the title favorite for the first time in the 21-year history of the GM Survey.

They’re not an overwhelming favorite, though. In fact, this is just the third time in the last 13 years that no team has received at least 50% of the GM’s votes to win the title. The Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers and Boston Celtics also received multiple votes from the league’s decision-makers.

While the Eastern Conference appears to be stronger than it’s been in the last 20 years, GMs see more parity in the West, where nine different teams received votes (and all nine received multiple votes) to finish in the top four. While the Bucks received 72% of the GM’s votes to win the East, the Warriors and Clippers tied atop the West, each garnering 48% of the votes.

Luka Doncic (23 years old and entering Year 5) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (27 and entering Year 10) are the league’s biggest franchise cornerstones, the only two players to receive votes for the player GMs would most like to start a franchise with. They were also the top two vote-getters for this season’s MVP pick, followed by two-time runner-up Joel Embiid and two-time winner Stephen Curry.

Read More: 2022-23 Kia Season Preview

Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero is the heavy favorite for Rookie of the Year, receiving 79% of the vote, the fourth highest rate in the history of the survey. Erik Spoelstra, meanwhile, has been tabbed as the league’s best coach for the third straight year.

The GMs responded to 50 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to that particular question, rather than all 30 GMs.


PREDICTIONS    

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are the favorites to win the 2023 NBA championship, according to NBA GMs.

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%
» Last year: Brooklyn Nets – 72%

Eastern Conference rankings

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th %Total
1. Milwaukee 72% 17% 3% 35%
2. Boston 21% 45% 17% 14% 27%
3. Philadelphia 14% 66% 14% 19%
4. Brooklyn 7% 14% 10% 31% 12%
5. Miami 10% 3% 28% 7%
6. Cleveland 14% 1%

%Total = Percentage of total points (4 for 1st place vote, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd, 1 for 4th)

» Last year: 83% picked Brooklyn to win the East. Order after the Nets was Milwaukee, Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston and Indiana.

Western Conference rankings

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th %Total
1. LA Clippers 48% 38% 7% 32%
2. Golden State 48% 28% 10% 29%
3. Phoenix 3% 21% 41% 10% 17%
4. Denver 10% 34% 24% 12%
5. Memphis 3% 14% 17% 6%
T-6. Dallas 14% 1%
T-6. Minnesota 3% 7% 1%
8. L.A. Lakers 10% 1%
9. New Orleans 7% 1%

%Total = Percentage of total points (4 for 1st place vote, 3 for 2nd, 2 for 3rd, 1 for 4th)

» Last year: 80% picked the Lakers to win the West. Order after the Lakers was Utah, Phoenix, Denver, Golden State, LA Clippers, Dallas and Portland.


PLAYERS

Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid are among the favorites to win Kia MVP this season, per NBA GMs.

Who will win the 2022-23 Kia MVP?

1. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 48%
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 34%
3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 14%
4. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 3%
» Last year: Kevin Durant – 37%

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 55%
2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 45%
» Last year: Luka Doncic – 43%

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%
» Also receiving votes: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn; Ja Morant, Memphis
» Last year: Stephen Curry – 27%

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2022-23?

1. Evan Mobley, Cleveland – 21%
T-2. Cade Cunningham, Detroit – 17%
T-2. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota – 17%
4. Zion Williamson, New Orleans – 14%
» Also receiving votes: Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers; Rudy Gobert, Minnesota; Jalen Green, Houston; Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana; Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State; Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia; Ben Simmons, Brooklyn; Anfernee Simons, Portland; Franz Wagner, Orlando
» Last year: Jaren Jackson Jr. – 17%

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%
» Last year: Stephen Curry – 57%

Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?

1. Devin Booker, Phoenix – 45%
2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 28%
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 17%
» Also receiving votes: Bradley Beal, Washington; James Harden, Philadelphia; Jayson Tatum, Boston
» Last year: James Harden – 63%

Who is the best small forward in the NBA?

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 45%
2. Jayson Tatum, Boston – 24%
3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 17%
4. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 10%
5. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers – 3%
» Last year: Kevin Durant – 67%

Who is the best power forward in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 86%
2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 10%
3. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 3%
» Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 63%

Who is the best center in the NBA?

1. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 79%
2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 17%
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 3%
» Last year: Nikola Jokic – 63%

Highest percentage of total votes on position questions

T-1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 18%
T-1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 18%
3. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 16%
4. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 12%
5. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 10%


OFFSEASON MOVES

The Cavaliers added All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to their backcourt this offseason.

Which team made the best overall moves this offseason?

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 41%
T-2. Minnesota Timberwolves – 17%
T-2. Philadelphia 76ers – 17%
T-2. Utah Jazz – 17%
» Also receiving votes: Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings
» Last year: Miami Heat – 47%

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?

1. Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland – 59%
2. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota – 31%
3. Jalen Brunson, New York – 7%
4. P.J. Tucker, Philadelphia – 3%
» Last year: Kyle Lowry – 77%

What was the most underrated player acquisition?

1. Malcolm Brogdon, Boston – 28%
T-2. P.J. Tucker, Philadelphia – 14%
T-2. John Wall, LA Clippers – 14%
4. De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia – 10%
5. Bojan Bogdanovic, Detroit – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Barton/Morris, Washington; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Denver; Rudy Gobert, Minnesota; Jerami Grant, Portland; Kevin Huerter, Sacramento; Dejounte Murray, Atlanta; Royce O’Neale, Brooklyn; Nets not trading stars
» Last year: Larry Nance Jr. – 28%

Which team will be most improved in 2021-22?

1. LA Clippers – 41%
T-2. Cleveland Cavaliers – 17%
T-2. New Orleans Pelicans – 17%
4. Minnesota Timberwolves – 10%
» Also receiving votes: Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings
» Last year: Chicago Bulls – 27%

What was the most surprising move of the offseason?

1. Rudy Gobert to Minnesota – 47%
2. Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland – 43%
3. Dejounte Murray to Atlanta – 7%
4. Andre Drummond to Chicago – 3%
» Last year: Russell Westbrook to the Lakers – 50%


ROOKIES & INTERNATIONAL

No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year, per NBA GMs.

Who will win the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year?

1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando – 79%
2. Keegan Murray, Sacramento – 17%
3. Jabari Smith, Houston – 3%
» Last year: Jalen Green – 47%

Which rookie will be the best player in five years?

1. Paolo Banchero, Orlando – 31%
2. Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City – 28%
T-3. Jaden Ivey, Detroit – 14%
T-3. Jabari Smith, Houston – 14%
5. Keegan Murray, Sacramento – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Dyson Daniels, New Orleans; Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana
» Last year: Evan Mobley – 33%
» Five years ago: Josh Jackson – 24%

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?

T-1. Jalen Duren (13), Detroit – 14%
T-1. Tari Eason (17), Houston – 14%
T-3. A.J. Griffin (16), Atlanta – 10%
T-3. Shaedon Sharpe (7), Portland – 10%
T-5. Jaden Ivey (5), Detroit – 7%
T-5. Keegan Murray (4), Sacramento – 7%
T-5. Jalen Williams (12), Oklahoma City – 7%
» Also receiving votes: MarJon Beauchamp (24), Milwaukee; Malaki Branham (20), San Antonio; Christian Braun (21), Denver; Dyson Daniels (8), New Orleans; Jaden Hardy (37), Dallas; Kenneth Lofton Jr. (undrafted), Memphis; Tyrese Martin (51), Atlanta; Bennedict Mathurin (6), Indiana; Peyton Watson (30), Denver
» Last year: Jalen Suggs – 23%

Who is the best international player in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 57%
2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 28%
3. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 16%
» Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 60%

Who is the best international player NOT in the NBA?

1. Victor Wembanyama – 45%
2. Nikola Mirotic – 28%
3. Vasilije Micic – 21%
» Also receiving votes: Edy Tavares; Sasha Vezenkov
» Last year: Nikola Mirotic – 53%


DEFENSE

Marcus Smart and Draymond Green both rank among the top defenders in the NBA.

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
» Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 47%

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
» Last year: Jrue Holiday – 50%

Who is the best interior defender in the NBA?

1. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota – 83%
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 10%
3. Draymond Green, Golden State – 7%
» Last year: Rudy Gobert – 77%

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%
» Also receiving votes: Mikal Bridges, Phoenix; Paul George, LA Clippers; Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers; Pascal Siakam, Toronto; Ben Simmons, Brooklyn
» Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 40%

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%
» Also receiving votes: LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies
» Last year: Milwaukee Bucks – 40%


COACHES

NBA GMs have picked Erik Spoelstra as the NBA’s best coach for the past three seasons.

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%
» Also receiving votes: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee; Taylor Jenkins, Memphis
» Last year: Erik Spoelstra – 55%

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%
» Also receiving votes: Willie Green, New Orleans; Taylor Jenkins, Memphis
» Last year: Monty Williams – 50%

Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments?

1. Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers – 55%
T-2. Nick Nurse, Toronto – 17%
T-2. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 17%
» Also receiving votes: Rick Carlisle, Indiana; Chris Finch, Minnesota; Jason Kidd, Dallas
» Last year: Tyronn Lue – 37%

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%
» Also receiving votes: Rick Carlisle, Indiana; Taylor Jenkins, Memphis; Monty Williams, Phoenix
» Last year: Quin Snyder – 27%

Which head coach has the best defensive schemes?

1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 34%
2. Nick Nurse, Toronto – 31%
T-3. Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers – 7%
T-3. Tom Thibodeau, New York – 7%
T-3. Ime Udoka, Boston – 7%
T-3. Monty Williams, Phoenix – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Taylor Jenkins, Memphis; Michael Malone, Denver
» Last year: Tom Thibodeau – 37%

Which new or relocated head coach will make the biggest impact on his new team?

1. Darvin Ham, L.A. Lakers – 48%
2. Mike Brown, Sacramento – 31%
3. Steve Clifford, Charlotte – 17%
4. Will Hardy, Utah – 3%
» Last year: Rick Carlisle – 64%

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
» Last year: Kenny Atkinson / Darvin Ham – 17%

Which active player will make the best head coach someday?

1. Chris Paul, Phoenix – 32%
2. Garrett Temple, New Orleans – 14%
3. CJ McCollum, New Orleans – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Patrick Beverley, L.A. Lakers; Malcolm Brogdon, Boston; Jalen Brunson, New York; Mike Conley, Utah; Matthew Dellavedova, Sacramento; Taj Gibson, Washington; Draymond Green, Golden State; Andre Iguodala, Golden State; Kyle Lowry, Miami; T.J. McConnell, Indiana; Patty Mills, Brooklyn; Rajon Rondo; Ish Smith, Denver
» Last year: Chris Paul – 34%


MISCELLANEOUS

Stephen Curry and the Warriors will face off against Ja Morant and the Grizzlies on Christmas Day.

Which team is the most fun to watch?

1. Golden State Warriors – 52%
2. Memphis Grizzlies – 28%
3. Brooklyn Nets – 10%
» Also receiving votes: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors
» Last year: Brooklyn Nets – 30%

Which team has the best home-court advantage?

1. Toronto Raptors – 21%
T-2. Boston Celtics – 17%
T-2. Denver Nuggets – 17%
T-4. Golden State Warriors – 14%
T-4. Utah Jazz – 14%
6. New York Knicks – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers
» Last year: Utah Jazz – 47%

Which team will have the league’s most efficient offense this season?

1. Golden State Warriors – 38%
2. Milwaukee Bucks – 17%
3. Denver Nuggets – 14%
T-4. LA Clippers – 7%
T-4. Philadelphia 76ers – 7%
T-4. Phoenix Suns – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies
» Last year: N/A

Which team’s level of success this season is toughest to predict?

1. Brooklyn Nets – 32%
2. L.A. Lakers – 18%
3. Memphis Grizzlies – 14%
T-4. Chicago Bulls – 7%
T-4. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7%
T-4. New Orleans Pelicans – 7%
T-4. Philadelphia 76ers – 7%
» Also receiving votes: LA Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers
» Last year: N/A

Which team has the most promising young core?

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 41%
2. Memphis Grizzlies – 38%
3. Detroit Pistons – 10%
» Also receiving votes: New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic
» Last year: Atlanta Hawks – 50%

Which player is the most athletic?

1. Ja Morant, Memphis – 38%
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 31%
3. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota – 21%
4. Zion Williamson, New Orleans – 7%
5. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 3%
» Last year: Zion Williamson – 27%

Which player is the best pure shooter?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 91%
2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 5%
3. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 3%
» Last year: Stephen Curry – 90%

Which player is the fastest with the ball?

1. Ja Morant, Memphis – 62%
2. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento – 31%
» Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia
» Last year: De’Aaron Fox – 59%

Which player is the best at moving without the ball?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 81%
2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 12%
» Also receiving votes: Mikal Bridges, Phoenix; Luka Doncic, Dallas
» Last year: Stephen Curry – 50%

Which player is the best passer?

1. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 72%
T-2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 10%
T-2. Chris Paul, Phoenix – 10%
» Also receiving votes: Stephen Curry, Golden State; LeBron James, L.A. Lakers
» Last year: LeBron James – 33%

Which player is the best leader?

1. Chris Paul, Phoenix – 34%
2. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 22%
3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 14%
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 12%
5. Damian Lillard, Portland – 10%
» Also receiving votes: Jimmy Butler, Miami; Draymond Green, Golden State
» Last year: Chris Paul – 43%

Who is the most versatile player in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 59%
2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 21%
T-3. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 7%
T-3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Paul George, LA Clippers; Ben Simmons, Brooklyn
» Last year: LeBron James – 57%

Which player has the best basketball IQ?

1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 45%
2. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 24%
3. Chris Paul, Phoenix – 14%
4. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 10%
5. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 7%
» Last year: LeBron James – 53%

Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 55%
2. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 17%
3. Damian Lillard, Portland – 14%
» Also receiving votes: DeMar DeRozan, Chicago; Luka Doncic, Dallas; Nikola Jokic, Denver; Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
» Last year: Kevin Durant – 41%

What rule (regarding play, schedule, Draft/Lottery, playoff format, etc.) most needs to change?

1. Coach’s challenges / automatic reviews (including keeping challenge if successful) – 17%
T-2. Free agency before Draft – 14%
T-2. Mandatory Draft medical information – 14%
T-4. Lottery odds (flatten or “wheel” proposal) – 10%
T-4. Playoff format (including no Play-In if 9th/10th place too far back) – 10%
T-6. Elam Ending – 7%
T-6. More leeway for defense (fewer fouls or eliminate def. 3 seconds) – 7%
T-6. Schedule – 7%
» Also receiving votes: Luxury tax re: own drafted supermax player; One FTA attempt for all trips to the line; No divisions; Nothing
» Last year: Take/transition fouls – 13%

* * *

John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

Latest

NBA Logo

Want every headline right at your fingertips? Sign up to receive NBA emails!