Jan 17, 2012, 2:45 PM EDT
The annual NBA survey of team general managers is out and — shockingly — they think the Miami Heat are very good. Same with that Kevin Durant guy. So, they see the world pretty much like the rest of this.
In the annual survey of team executives, 74.1 percent of the GMs think the Miami Heat will win the NBA title, with Oklahoma City second (14.8) and the Los Angeles Lakers third (7.4). The Heat win this with a pretty wide margin, but the GMs are not always accurate (63 percent thought the Lakers would three-peat last season.)
Oklahoma City will come out of the West, according to 67.9 percent of the GMs. While the Lakers were second (17.9 percent), interestingly 7.1 percent liked Portland and the same number liked San Antonio.
As for Divisions, 64.3 percent thought Boston would win the Atlantic Division. They would like their vote back. The 21.4 percent that picked the 76ers look pretty smart right now. Also on the other coast, the GMs were not sold on the Clippers as 77.8 percent of GMs still thought the Lakers would win the Pacific.
When asked what player they would choose to start a franchise, it was a tie between Durant and James at 37 percent. However, when asked what opposing player forces the most plan adjustments, the winner was Dwight Howard at 29.6 percent (followed by Durant, James, Dirk Nowitzki and Rose).
Howard was named the best defensive player in the league in a landslide. Tony Allen won best perimeter defender over Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant. (Really, Kobe? Have they watched much of him the last three years? Not the same defender.) GMs also thought the Bulls were the best defensive team. Duh.
Rose was named the best point guard in the league with 59.3 percent of the vote. Kobe Bryant was the best two guard (55.6 percent, ahead of Dwyane Wade at 40.7), LeBron was the best small forward, Nowitzki the best five and Howard the best center.
Kobe was named the toughest player in the league by GMs. Kevin Love was named player who does the most with the least (raw skill).
The Clippers did clean up categories such as “best offseason move” and “team who will improve the most,” as you might expect.
As for the rookies, 63 percent of GMs think Kyrie Irving would win rookie of the year, with Ricky Rubio second (18.5 percent). When asked who from this class will be the best five years from now, Irving won with 51.9 percent of the vote, with a three way tie behind him (Rubio, Jonas Valanciunas and Derrick Williams). Norris Cole was the GMs pick as rookie most likely to surprise.
Gregg Popovich cleaned up the coaching awards. Hard to knock that.
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