Things change quiet rapidly in the NBA, and many of us voice our opinions day in and day out pertaining to who may or may not win the Championship, take home MVP or make the playoffs. But yesterday, the yearly General Manager Poll (GM Poll) took place, with some interesting results coming from the men in charge, whom we very rarely hear from directly (unless you listen to anything Mark Cuban has to say). We though we’d take a quick look at, and briefly analyze how some of this year’s NBA GM’s view the league as it stands, and who they think might just walk away with a Championship under their belts. Here is a selection of votes from yesterday’s poll.
1. Miami Heat – 70.0%
2. L.A. Lakers – 23.3%
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – 6.7%
You can’t really say that result is all that surprising. Let’s face it, even those of us who aren’t Heat fans can admit they have the goods to go back to back this season and all signs point to that being the outcome. The Heat face some of the toughest competition they ever have this season, but they have had the time to gel, cultivate chemistry and win a title together. If this was a public poll, I think you would find the results to be pretty similar.
Western Conference Champions:
1. L.A. Lakers – 60.0%
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – 36.7%
3. Denver Nuggets – 3.3%
Another fairly well reasoned result. Most people see the reloaded Lakers as the team to beat in the West now they possess Dwight Howard and Steve Nash but when you pull back the curtains, is this team going to create opportunities and mature the way they need to in order to take on the Thunder deep in the playoffs? No doubt it will be one of the truly great Western battles in recent memory, but are people jumping on the Lakers too quick? We think the Thunder learned a lot from last season and will give these Lakers a very, very tough contest. Coming in at third is Denver, who I also think will be a dark horse in the West.
Eastern Conference Champions:
1. Miami Heat – 96.7%
2. Boston Celtics – 3.3%
As we have mentioned, the East really is shaping up as a two horse race. So much so no GM’s voted for anyone else. The Heat are evidently the superior team and are overwhelming favorites to take conference and according to GM’s, there isn’t really even any competition. Maybe Boston are the only team to challenge them, but most assume it’s already Miami’s to lose. Boston have looked good in a lot of areas this preseason, and posses the necessary depth to give them a legitimate opportunity at a conference title but do they have the stamina and mental fortitude to overcome the Heat? Time will tell but at this point, I think that while the Celtics have got a bum wrap here, the result is probably fairly accurate.
2012/13 NBA Most Valuable Player:
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat – 66.7%
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – 30.0%
3. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – 3.3%
Top two? You’d undoubtedly pick LeBron and Durant. These two battled for MVP last season and while challenged by others, it was never really in doubt that one of these two would walk away with the award. This year, GM’s believe we will see the same scenario, but again it will end in the most dominant player in the league claiming the title of MVP. Most would surely agree that LeBron is in the prime of his career and in the perfect position to again stamp his authority on the NBA. Where Carmelo Anthony sneaks in is of little importance.
Who takes the last shot?
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – 46.7%
2. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers – 40.0%
3. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – 6.7%
This is one we don’t understand. Time and time again we have seen Kobe Bryant bail the Lakers out with a resounding buzzer beater to send their opposition home wondering ‘how the hell did we lose that?’. It is a fairly close race, but Durant has got the wood on Kobe here according to league GM’s. KD has become more and more known for his ability to knock down difficult shots at the death under extreme pressure (Mavs fans can attest to this), but what he doesn’t have is the ability to knock down UTTERLY RIDICULOUS shots with a hand down his throat. Enter Kobe Bryant. Almost every player in the league can say they’ve been buried by a Kobe buzzer beater. Only 6% separate the two, but it is fairly evident that the majority of GM’s believe Kevin Durant is the most clutch player in the league. A poll on NBA.com suggests we aren’t alone in our belief.
Best Point Guard:
1. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers – 69.0%
2. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – 20.7%
3. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics – 6.9%
CP3 takes out the award for best PG this year according to league GM’s and one would struggle to argue with them. Honestly, Derrick Rose is probably lucky he’s still considered top 2. That’s not to say he shouldn’t be, but with guard like Rondo, Williams, Parker and Westbrook around, and his ongoing injury it’s becoming harder and harder to see Rose as having the relevance he did a year or two ago. If healthy, it is almost a given that he would take out top spot but unfortunately that is not the case, and a long term injury such as this could see him slip even further down the ranking should he a) spend more time on the sideline or b) come back a shadow of the player he once was.
Best Shooting Guard:
1. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers – 66.7%
2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat – 23.3%
No matter how anyone looks at it, it’s hard to deny Mr. KB24 is still the best shooting guard in the NBA. It’s a coveted position, and few GM’s believe there is much competition. Dwayne Wade is playing some of the best basketball of his life and deserves recognition, but at 34 years of age there is simply no one better than the Black Mamba himself. Only narrowly losing the scoring title to Kevin Durant last season, Kobe most likely would have won it had he not sat himself out of the game against Sacramento in game 82, giving the automatic win to Durant. Averaging a total 29PPG at his age is amazing, and he continues to show no signs of slowing down and the team management has now built around him should only make Kobe’s job easier.
1. Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers – 93.3%
2. Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers – 6.7%
Last season there was some conjecture as to who was the best center in the NBA, and after Andrew Bynum notched 19 boards in a game against the Spurs late in the piece many believed he was headed to the top. But as everyone knows, Bynum is immature, lazy and challenged in the big game arena. Playoff time sees a sloppy and underwhelming Bynum take the floor and constantly disappoints both team mates and fans alike with his disinterested attitude. When he’s good, he’s great and he deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence but sometimes big Drew’s attitude brings him unstuck. There is little question of who retains the crown this time around. He’s been out for some time, but returned on Monday to register a double double in his Lakers debut. Still terrifyingly good, Dwight Howard deserves his spot atop the list of best big men in the NBA.
Best Offseason Moves:
1. L.A. Lakers – 86.2%
2. Brooklyn Nets – 6.9%
Yeah, it’s kind of obvious huh? I think we all know the Lakers made the biggest waves this summer, so let’s concentrate on the next best team to impact the league with player movement. Brooklyn not only moved from New Jersey, they also locked down their super star, kept a good center, recruited a veteran or two and most importantly, changed their outlook. This is a Nets team who can put a big tick in the win column after their offseason and should see some great benefits come from it. Honorable mentions must go to Golden State, Philadelphia, Denver and Atlanta but when all is said and done, New York’s “other” team takes the cake.
Rookie of The Year
1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets – 76.7%
2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – 20.0%
3. Austin Rivers, New Orleans Hornets – 3.3%
Interesting no GM’s went near Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson or Dion Waiters and for what it’s worth I don’t think Anthony Davis will win rookie of the year either. One thing that sticks out here is the easy option. It’s easy to pick Davis after being drafted with the first pick, but with that in mind, I don’t see him having the impact certain other rookie’s will. Might sound a bit harsh, but it’s fair. That said, Davis is going to develop and grow and by season’s end may just be inline for ROTY. MKG has been disappointing so far in preseason (don’t worry, not judging yet), so maybe that has impacted on some MG’s predictions. To me Thomas Robinson has been the most impressive at this early stage and deserves some recognition. Again, it’s very hard to pick, but so far he has contributed more than most.
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs – 80.0%
2. Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics – 13.3%
Accurate. Pop has earned his spot. He’s a motivator and as defensively minded as they come whilst also being the admiration of his players and staff. Such an important element for coaches in today’s ego filled NBA. Locker rooms can become some of the most hostile places for a coach, but it’s evident that much like coaching guru Phil Jackson, Pop knows how to control his players and his locker room. Coming in at second is Doc Rivers and I was a little surprised by this. Doc is undoubtedly exceptionally good at what he does, but is he as a dynamic a coach as he once was? I have the utmost respect for what that man does, but I can’t help but think there may be another name or two that should be mentioned under Popovich. One thing that does give Doc an edge is his importance to the Celtics. Heart and soul is so important today, and Doc brings it in spades. Boston would be a very different team without him, and maybe that in itself is reason enough to place him at number two.