NBA GM survey: Suns not a Finals fav, but execs love Monty Williams

Oct 5, 2021, 9:26 AM
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams, left, confers with guard Chris Paul during the first half of the...

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams, left, confers with guard Chris Paul during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)’s annual preseason general manager survey gives an overview of how perceptions change in the National Basketball Association.

For the Phoenix Suns coming off a run to the NBA Finals, those perceptions have certainly moved from a season ago.

Last year, the expectation was that Phoenix’s acquisition of Chris Paul would help slide them into playoff contention. The Suns surpassed those expectations, and now 81% of those polled in this year’s GM survey consider Phoenix to be a top-four playoff seed in the Western Conference.

However, Phoenix was not picked by anyone to win the NBA Finals. The Brooklyn Nets (72%), Los Angeles Lakers (17%) and Milwaukee Bucks (10%) were the only teams to clear that bar.

But respect was dolled out in gobs for Suns coach Monty Williams.

He came in second (17%) when GMs were asked who was the best coach in the NBA, behind Miami’s Erik Spoelstra (55%). Williams additionally got 50% of the votes, the most, when executives were asked which head coach was the best manager/motivator of people.

Semi-related to the coaching questions, Suns point guard Chris Paul was first in votes for best leader (43%) and also as the player who will some day make the best head coach (34%). He was second in best basketball IQ (30%), third in best passer (10%) and tied for fourth in best point guard (7%).

Backcourt mate Devin Booker earned 17% of the votes for best shooting guard, coming in behind only the Nets’ James Harden (63%).

Suns center Deandre Ayton received at least a vote for most likely player to have a breakout season, while fellow fourth-year man Mikal Bridges got recognition alongside Booker in receiving a nod for best player moving without the ball.

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