Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, LeBron James, NBA

LeBron favorite for MVP, Warriors title favorites

Despite an eventful NBA offseason, not much changed at the top in this year’s NBA GM survey.

As the old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Even after a positively (brilliantly, beautifully) chaotic NBA offseason, there aren’t many differences from a year ago in the 2017-18 NBA general manager survey, a yearly compilation of questions asked and answered by every GM in the league. Here’s the basic rules:

The GMs responded to 47 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, 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.

With a total of 47 questions, the entire survey can be a bit much, but here’s a smattering of some of the answers to the most burning questions:

  • LeBron James was voted as most likely to win the MVP award with 50 percent of the vote. LeBron has been voted as the most likely to receive the MVP award for six straight seasons by the GM survey, having only received one (2012-13) in that time frame. Kevin Durant came in second with 29 percent of the vote — he was also the last player to finish ahead of LeBron in the MVP rankings, prior to the 2011-12 season. Last year’s MVP Russell Westbrook was, rather shockingly, unranked.
  • The Golden State Warriors are favorites to win the title for the second straight season, securing a record-setting 93 percent of the vote. Cleveland came in second at seven percent.
  • For the second straight season, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns was voted as the player that most GMs would start their team with today, securing 29 percent of the vote. Giannis Antetokounmpo came in second with 21 percent.
  • Towns was also voted most likely to have a “breakout” season in 2017-18 with 21 percent of the vote. After averaging 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game a year ago, it’s tough to really imagine how one would “break out” further… maybe 35 points and 20 rebounds per game would do it? New York’s Kristaps Porzingis came in second with 14 percent of the vote.
  • Lonzo Ball was voted as most likely to win Rookie of the Year with 62 percent of the vote, followed by Ben Simmons of Philadelphia with 24 percent. No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz did not make the list, although he did tie for second with Boston’s Jayson Tatum in the “which rookie will be the best player in five years” category, tailing only Phoenix’s Josh Jackson.
  • According to GMs, the best five-man lineup in the NBA (with each player voted as best at his position) would be Stephen Curry, James Harden, LeBron, Anthony Davis and Towns.
  • Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti cleaned up in the organizational categories — OKC was voted to have had the best offseason with 43 percent of the vote, and 60 percent of GMs believe that Paul George will be the most impactful new addition.
  • Luka Doncic, one of the top prospects who will presumably enter the 2018 draft, was voted as the best international player not currently in the NBA, followed by former NBA players Nando de Colo and Alexey Shved.
  • Kawhi Leonard was voted as both the best defensive player in the league (62 percent) and best perimeter defender in the league (72 percent).
  • Gregg Poppovich was voted as the best coach for the seventh straight season, and his 83 percent of the vote is actually his lowest number in the last four years.
  • Golden State had the top two vote-getters in the “who would you want taking the last shot” category — Curry in first, followed by Durant.
  • Playoff seeding was deemed the rule that most needs changing.

There’s plenty more to digest in the full survey, which can be found in the link above.

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