NBA.com GM Survey Results
Were that actual news. Which it's not. That's just me being a jokester.
But I'm not kidding at all that results from the annual NBA.com General Manager survey have been released. And by and large, I think Lakers fans will like what they see. In a nutshell, the brain trusts around the league consider the Lakers a force to be reckoned with, whether you're talking individual players or as a collective.
Below the jump are the categories, along with a few brief comments:
- As one would expect, big things predicted for the purple and gold. The Lakers are pegged by a whopping 96.6% to win the Pacific, 75.9% to win the West (the Spurs representing the consensus' remaining 24%) and to repeat as champs by nearly 61%. The only aspects of this particular poll that might raise eyebrows is Portland getting the edge over Denver as the Northwest champeens and NOBODY giving the Magic a shot at winning it all after making last season's Finals. Lotta Hedo Turkoglu and Courtney Lee fans out there, it would appear.
- Remember how I said Lakers fans would like what they see, by and large? The caveat mostly referred to the "MVP" poll results. Let's just say the Lakers aren't the only entity forecast to retain a trophy. LeBron James snatched up 69% of the vote, with Kobe in second at 17%. Even acknowledging James' obvious worthiness, I get why Laker fans would consider this a snub. But really, as long as Kobe wins Finals MVP, it's ultimately small potatoes.
- The voting gap between LBJ and Kobe narrowed when it comes to a single player that forces the most coaching adjustments (39% vs. 23%, respectively), but what I found most interesting is a name popping up in "Also receiving votes": Lamar Odom. Mind you, "interesting" isn't the same as "surprising," because many a scout and/or coach has told BK and me about how dramatically LO's ability to create (and prevent) mismatches changes a game's complexion. But considering the other names cited (Kobe, LBJ, Wade, Shaq, Dwight, CP3), his mention is nonetheless interesting.
- Kobe ran away with "best shooting guard." Pau Gasol received votes behind the Big 3 of Duncan, KG and Dirk.
- The Lakers don't have any of the former, but Gasol finished behind Dirk Nowitzki as the league's best player from out of town.
- Those hoping for even more lockdown this season should enjoy the following results. Ron Artest and Kobe are everywhere, whether "Best Defensive player," "Best Perimeter defender," "Best at playing the Passing Lanes," etc. The Lakers only nabbed 7% when it comes to best defensive team, but I honestly think their D has been quite underrated the last couple seasons. And even if that 7% is about right, that would make the Lakers a top-3 squad on that side of the ball, which, combined with the league's best O, is a pretty good formula for Larry O'Brien avoiding a "change of address" card.
- A fair amount of goodwill towards Ron Ron, initially viewed by many as a potential powder keg addition, on and off the court. Thus, it's no surprise his presence in L.A. ranked as the most surprising move (19.2%), but 14.3% of those polled think he'll finish just behind V.C. in Orlando as the biggest impact newbie.
- Save "Best defensive Adjustments," Phil Jackson ranked in the top 4 for every applicable category and owned "Best coach," "Best people manager/motivator," and Best offense." B.Shaw received votes for "Best Assistant," and not surprisingly, the sage Derek Fisher won out as the current player that strikes voters as the best head coach in the making (30.2%).
- The equivalent of Vegas' Super Bowl prop bets, with plenty of purple and gold representation. As long as a victory comes against someone else's team, more GM's (30.8%) find the Lake Show the league's most purely fun team to watch. Staples Center has been accused (often rightfully) as a fairly sterile and mellow arena, but it still garners the league's third best home court advantage.
- Kobe won "best at getting his own shot" by a lot (69%), "Player you'd want to take a shot with the game on the line" by a LOT (almost 90%) and placed second to new mate Artest as the league's resident tough dude. He also lagged behind old nemesi Steve Nash for "Best BBall IQ" and Chauncey Billups for "Best Leader." The latter showing really reflects the shifting perception of Bryant.
- Gasol received votes in the brainy column, as well as "Best offensive rebounder."