NBA general managers really like the Milwaukee Bucks.
And we mean really like.
In NBA.com’s annual survey among the league’s GMs, the Bucks and star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are prominently mentioned.
Milwaukee is an overwhelming choice to win the Eastern Conference, with 72% of GMs thinking the Bucks will finish first.
The Bucks are also a favorite among NBA GMs to win the title with 43% of them picking Milwaukee to be crowned champions. Golden State is next at 25% followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (21%) and Boston (11%).
When it comes to Antetokounmpo, well, he’s naturally well-thought of.
If general managers could pick one player to start a franchise, it’d be Giannis, who garnered 55% of the vote. Dallas’ Luka Doncic, who was the top vote-getter in this category last season at 43%, was the only other player to get a vote, coming in at 45%.
Doncic, however, was tabbed to win the MVP over Antetokounmpo, 48% to 34%. No one else was really in the running as Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid finished with 14% of the vote and Golden State’s Steph Curry 3%.
Antetokounmpo was voted the best power forward in the NBA (86%) -- and tied for the highest vote total with Curry on any of the best of positions (he received 3% at center) at 18% -- best defensive player (48%), most versatile defender (41%) and player (59%) and best international player (57%).
He also was second behind Curry (52%-14%) in which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments, second among interior defenders (Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert was first at 83%; Giannis had 10%), just seven percentage points behind Memphis’ Ja Morant for most athletic (31%), fourth in best leader (12%) and received votes for fastest with the ball.
Jrue Holiday also made the list, finishing second for best perimeter defense at 31%. Boston’s Marcus Smart led with 41% of the vote. No one else had more than 10%.
No surprise then that the Bucks received the third-most votes (tied) for best defensive team in the NBA (7%; Boston led with 69%). General managers are also bullish on Milwaukee’s offense. The Bucks were second (17%) among teams which will have the most efficient offense in 2022-23.
On the coaching side, Mike Budenholzer tied for third (7%) in who runs the best offense and also received votes for best coach. Assistant Charles Lee received 34% of the votes for best assistant, tied for first with Golden State’s Kenny Atkinson.
There’s plenty of reasons to be excited about this season’s Bucks teams. Just ask the NBA’s general managers.