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Turns out, the NBA’s general managers feel the same as the vast majority of the league’s fans.
The Golden State Warriors are going to win another championship come springtime.
In the 17th annual NBA.com GM Survey, the Warriors were again named the overwhelming favorites to win a third consecutive title, their fourth in four years.
Eighty-seven percent of the league’s GMs picked Golden State to successfully defend its crown. The Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics were next in line, tied for second with seven percent of the vote. The Warriors received 93 percent of the vote headed into last season.
With LeBron James having departed Cleveland for a second time via free agency, taking his talents to Hollywood and the Lakers, this time, the GMs believe the Celtics will ascend to the throne James’ teams have occupied atop the Eastern Conference for the last three seasons.
Boston is led by the new “best head coach in the NBA” in Brad Stevens and star point guard Kyrie Irving received one vote to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Speaking of the MVP, James, entering his 16th season in the NBA and whom will turn 34 in December, was named the favorite to earn the honor for a fifth time, receiving 30 percent of the vote, while Kevin Durant of Golden State was next in line at 27 percent. James was the favorite to win the NBA MVP last season, too, receiving 50 percent of the vote.
James was also named as the player who forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments, the best passer, the best leader, the most versatile player and the player with the best basketball IQ.
Also part of the 49 questions the GMs were asked was to name the player they would select to start a franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks led the way, receiving 30 percent of the vote, with Anthony Davis (23 percent) of the New Orleans Pelicans and Durant (20 percent) receiving 20 percent or more of the votes.
Ironically, the winner of that vote a year ago — Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves — didn’t make the top six this year.
Other noteworthy results have Davis named best center and best power forward, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets named as the player most likely to have a breakout season, DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Warriors was tabbed as the most surprising move of the offseason and the Lakers for being the team that had the best offseason.
The league’s GMs named Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks as most likely to earn Rookie of the Year honors, but No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns was chosen to be the best player in the 2018 class a half-decade from now.