PHOENIX SUNS

2022-23 NBA GM survery shows love to Suns, but not for title hopes

Oct 5, 2022, 7:21 AM
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) and Chris Paul (3) slap hands during the first half of an NBA presea...

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) and Chris Paul (3) slap hands during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Adelaide 36ers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The annual general manager survey from NBA.com revealed continued respect for the Phoenix Suns, their coach and several players.

But with an ugly end to last year, roster questions that include Deandre Ayton’s icy relationship with head coach Monty Williams and Jae Crowder’s pending departure via trade, the expectations have topped out heading into the 2022-23 season.

General managers picked the Suns to finish third in the Western Conference, with 41% of the voters projecting them exactly in third place. The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are expected to finish the regular season ahead of Phoenix.

A strong majority of the GMs polled believe the Suns will be a top-four seed in the West, as 75% of voters see them earning a first-round playoff opener at home. It’s not far from the 81% last year coming off an NBA Finals run.

Like last year as well, nobody selected Phoenix to win the NBA title.

Chris Paul, 37, is still receiving his roses — even after he seemingly hit a wall midway through a Western Conference Semifinals series loss to the Dallas Mavericks that ended the Suns’ 2021-22 season.

Paul was voted as the third-best point guard, with 10% of the vote, behind Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Dallas’ Luka Doncic.

Thirty-two percent of general managers picked Paul as the active player who will someday make a great head coach. He tied with Doncic and finished behind Denver center Nikola Jokic as the league’s best passer and earned 34% of the vote to finish first place in the poll as the NBA’s best leader.

Paul was third, behind Lakers star LeBron James and Jokic, in the best basketball IQ category.

Suns backcourt mate Devin Booker got 45% of the vote as the league’s best shooting guard, while wing Mikal Bridges finished fourth in best perimeter defender and earned votes for most versatile defender and best player moving without the ball.

Williams tied for third, with San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, in the best NBA head coach category, behind Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and Golden State’s Steve Kerr.

The Suns head coach also tied for third in terms of best defensive schemes and got votes for deploying the best offensive scheme.

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