The NBA’s annual GM survey is a nice temperature check of what those running the teams on a day-to-day basis believe is most likely to happen during the upcoming season.
The vast majority of predictions stay on the conservative side, but there are plenty of interesting notes to share as we pore over the results.
First, the ground rules, via John Schuhmann of NBA.com:
The GMs responded to 56 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 each question of the survey, rather than all 30 GMs.
Now, some of the more interesting conclusions.
The Spurs were the overwhelming choice to repeat as champions, taking home 46.2 percent of the vote. The new-look Cavaliers were second at 15.4 percent, followed by a three-way tie for third between the Bulls, Clippers and Thunder, all of whom received 11.5 percent.
Cleveland received the most votes to win the East at 70.4 percent, with the Bulls finishing a distant second at 25.9 percent.
LeBron James was the overwhelming favorite to reclaim the MVP award that Kevin Durant won last season. James received 67.9 percent of the vote, while Durant came in second with 21.4 percent.
As for Rookie of the Year, the league’s GMs believe it to be essentially a one-man race. Jabari Parker received 75 percent of the vote, with Andrew Wiggins coming in a fairly distant second with 17.9 percent.
Joakim Noah received the most votes for the league’s best defensive player, though the margin wasn’t that great at just 35.7 percent. James came in second at 21.4 percent, while Dwight Howard and Serge Ibaka finished third with 14.3 percent each.
Gregg Popovich was the overwhelming choice for best head coach at 92.9 percent; Lionel Hollins and Tom Thibodeau were the only others to even receive votes.
And finally, the “clutch” question of who GMs would want taking the final shot with the game on the line was answered somewhat emphatically: Kevin Durant received 76.9 percent of the vote, with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James garnering just 7.7 percent apiece.