NBA general managers believe Miami Heat will win title
Here's five things to take from an NBA General Managers poll:
1. The Lakers won't win the NBA title.That honor, according to 74.1% of the pool of respondents, belongs to the Miami Heat. Even worse, 67.9% believe the Lakers will lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. Those looking for a silver lining can point to the fact that 63% were wrong last season in believing the Lakers would three-peat. So perhaps reverse psychology will work. Probably not.
2. Kobe Bryant won't win the 2011-12 MVP.That will go to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (55%) or Miami's LeBron James (44.4%). Now when Bryant says he feels slighted for people saying he's too old, he should blame it on the league executives, not the media. In fairness though, Bryant is still considered the best shooting guard (55.6%), the best at getting his own shot (35.7%) and the best closer (48.1%).
3. League general managers remain impressed with Lakers Coach Mike Brown. The Lakers have experienced a deep learning curve and have fallen to fatigue. So it remains to be seen if Brown's grind-it-out mentality will maximize the Lakers' play or just burn them out. Still, league general managers tab Brown with the second-best defensive scheme (11.5%) and the fifth best-run offense (7.4%).
4. Plenty of people remain confused by the Lamar Odom trade.A plurality of GMs remained perplexed with the NBA's decision to nix the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers (33.3%). Believe me, so does everyone else except for David Stern. But in a sign that's hardly encouraging for Lakers fans, 29% of respondents don't understand the Lakers' decision to trade Odom to the Mavericks.
5. Derek Fisher will coach someday. The cynical Laker fan will vouch this idea simply so Fisher abruptly retires. But as he showed with his game-winning shot Monday against Dallas, the 37-year-old Fisher still knows how to win. And if the 29% of league general managers are correct, Fisher will likely hang up his sneakers and then wear a suit on the sideline.
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Photo: The Lakers and Miami Heat won't meet in the NBA Finals, according to a league general manager survey. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times