While all that matters in the NBA are the results on the court, that doesn’t mean folks don’t care what people around the league think. And with Tuesday’s release of the 2015-16 NBA.com GM Survey, we now get a better sense of what’s going on in the heads of some of the game’s biggest decision makers.
For 13 years now, NBA.com has done this particular survey. However, unlike the previous ones, this is the first time general managers have been asked to respond to 49 different questions. After taking a look at both the questions and the answers, we have to admit, we found ourselves a bit surprised. Here’s a look at the five biggest takeaways from the 2015-16 GM survey.
1. No organization compares to the Spurs
No matter how this upcoming 2015-16 season plays out, the San Antonio Spurs, as far as NBA franchises go, will continue to remain the gold standard. The organization received the most praise for its offseason moves — garnering 79.3% of the vote — and also ended up with the player — LaMarcus Aldridge — who most GMs believed would have the greatest impact out of all the offseason acquisitions.
Throw in the fact that Gregg Popovich was considered by the majority to be the best coach, manager/motivator of players, best at making in-game adjustments, and best defensive schemes, and it’s clear the league has nothing but respect for the San Antonio Spurs.
2. Dwight Howard has a lot to prove
Dwight Howard comes into the 2015-16 season with a lot to prove. It was only a year ago that the Houston Rockets big man was named the best center in the National Basketball Association, receiving 42.9% of the vote from the GMs around the league. However, this time around, Howard didn’t garner a single a vote.
Feel free to chalk this up to an injury-plagued 2014-15 campaign that limited D12 to just 41 regular-season games. Yet, make no mistake, if Howard is looking to reestablish himself as the best big man in the game, then come this season, he better be ready to turn himself back into Superman. At this point, Clark Kent will simply not do.
3. Where is the respect for Golden State?
Where is the love for the Golden State Warriors? How quickly folks forget that this is the same team that won a franchise-best 67 games last season, established themselves as one of the greatest teams in NBA history, and took home the organization’s first championship in 40 years.
The fact that only 17.9% of the GMs are picking them to win it all again — the third lowest percentage for a defending champ since the survey started 13 years ago — is completely mindboggling. Looks like it’s up to Stephen Curry and the rest of the Dubs to go out and win another title. Maybe then the rest of the world will finally start to give them the respect they deserve.
4. It’s about to be the Anthony Davis show
In just three short seasons, Anthony Davis has already become one of the best all-around players in the NBA. His uncanny ability to dominate on both ends of the floor is one of the main reasons why we predicted the New Orleans Pelicans would take the next step in their evolution this year. Based on this 2015-16 GM survey, clearly we aren’t the only ones who think so.
Not only do 82.1% of the GMs believe that The Brow is the best power forward in the game, but 86.2% of them, if given the opportunity to start a franchise today, would pick him to build the team around. Talk about high praise. We think it’s safe to say that Anthony Davis has become impossible to ignore… even if the Pelicans have yet to notch a win this year.
5. The Cavaliers are the heavy favorites
LeBron James and company may have come up short last season, but that won’t be the case this year. At least as far as the GMs are concerned. According to this year’s survey, 53.6% of the GMs believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will go on to win the 2015-16 NBA championship. With expectations now at an all-time high, we can’t wait to see if the King has what it takes to deliver.