David Schuhmann of NBA.com revealed all the predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season according to all of the league’s general managers.
GMs were polled on 48 different questions, starting with the two teams likely to meet in the Finals and who will win individual awards, all the way down to best assistants and players with the best intangibles.
Not shockingly, 69 percent of general managers think the Golden State Warriors will beat the Cleveland Cavaliers after meeting in their third-straight Final. The Cavs and Dubs are far-and-away the best teams in their respective conferences, and the standings get interesting from the fourth seed down.
Starting in the West, 28.6 percent of GMs think that the Oklahoma City Thunder is the fourth-best team in that conference, followed by Portland, Utah, Memphis, and Houston.
Toronto is still seen as the second-best in the East, but they received no first place votes and third place Boston did. The remaining teams look almost the same as last year, except Miami is replaced by Washington; despite adding Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Bulls aren’t expected to make the playoffs but received votes as one of the top-four teams.
Notable Numbers For Players:
LeBron James is expected to bring home his fifth NBA MVP and reeled in 46.7 percent of GM’s votes. That metric is a bit odd, and what’s more odd is that Russell Westbrook is the runner-up with just 23.3 percent of the vote. In recent years, the MVP has been handed out to the players with the most stunning stat line, and Westbrook is in perfect position to have inflated numbers.
Also, 17.2 percent of the league’s GM picked the King as the player they’d start a franchise with despite him turning 32 this December. He trails Kevin Durant (20.7) and Karl-Anthony Towns (48.3). Teams also said that James is the hardest player to gameplan around, and three-quarters of GMs believe he forces the most adjustments.
With 24.1 percent of the vote, George Hill was deemed the most underrated player acquired this offseason. Hill now plays with Utah after being sent there in a three-team trade with Indiana and Atlanta.
Kevin Durant barely edged out Dwyane Wade (46.7 to 43.3) as the player who made the most surprising move this offseason, but KD will, by far, have the most impact for his new team.
Kris Dunn is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year (46.7), and will also be the second-best player in five years, trailing first overall pick Ben Simmons. Dunn, falling all the way down to number five in the draft, was voted as the second biggest steal behind Dejounte Murray (23.3 to 16.7).
LeBron James runs away with all the intangibles and was voted as the best leader (57.1), most versatile (75.0), and has the highest IQ (65.5).
When GMs got asked who they want taking the final shot with the game on the line, Curry was a heavy favorite at 75.9 percent. James, who’s been criticized for his reluctance to shoot, landed at number two, ahead of Carmelo Anthony, KD, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
The NBA’s Best Players By Position:
- PG: Stephen Curry, 63.3%
- SG: James Harden, 56.7%
- SF: LeBron James, 76.8%
- PF: Anthony Davis, 29.0%
- C: DeAndre Jordan, 33.3%
Notable Numbers For Coaches & Teams
Gregg Popovich was not only considered the best overall head coach by a landslide (83.3 percent), he finished first or second in every question he was eligible for. Those categories include best motivator (1st), best at making in-game adjustments (2nd to Rick Carlisle), best offensive scheme (2nd to Steve Kerr), and best defensive scheme (2nd to Tom Thibodeau).
Golden State is not only the most fun to watch (93.3 percent), but they also have the best home-court advantage. Denver got second place thanks to its high altitude.
A change in the Draft Lottery system was voted the rule that needs the most change with 30 percent, followed by fewer timeouts, and intentional fouling.
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