Every year, the league’s top decision makers fill out a poll, predicting who they think will win the title, who will finish first, second, third, and fourth in each division, and who will win MVP (among a bunch of other questions). Now that the results are in, we have some cold hard data showing that the signing of Kevin Durant put a fright into the hearts of 29 other NBA GMs.
Most polls are garbage, internet-y throw away things overrun by fanboys and trolls, but this poll is pure. It’s clean. It’s reserved for the brightest minds in the game. For that reason, it’s always enlightening and necessary to peruse the results before the season kicks into gear.
(All results and charts via NBA.com)
Which team will win the 2017 NBA Finals?
1. Golden State – 69.0%
2. Cleveland – 31.0%
Last year: Cleveland – 53.6%
Yeah, yeah, we get it. You guys were smart and predicted the Cavs to win the championship last year. Ugh. Bet you didn’t predict 3-1, though. Anyways, moving on.
The GMs also (unsurprisingly) picked the Warriors to finish atop the Western Conference yet again.
Rank the top four teams in the Western Conference.
Last year: 51.7 percent picked Golden State to win the West. Order after the Warriors was San Antonio, Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers, Houston and Memphis.
That 3.3% for San Antonio means one, um, genius decided to swim up stream. (No worries, one lone wolf—probably the same person, I’m guessing—picked Boston to win the East)
When it came time to predict the MVP, the GMs didn’t give Stephen Curry much of a chance at a three peat. Sure, the arrival of Durant will dampen his shots (no way he’s hitting 400+ three pointers this year), plus perhaps the GMs are imaging the 2016 NBA Finals somehow seeping into this season, with savage memories of things better left unsaid:
Who will win the 2016-17 MVP?
1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 46.7%
2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 23.3%
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 10.0%
James Harden, Houston – 10.0%
5. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 6.7%
6. Paul George, Indiana – 3.3%
Last year: LeBron James – 39.3%
10%?! Only 10%? I mean, I get it. Durant is here. Voters have familiarity syndrome, or buyers remorse, or whatever you wanna call it. Maybe the voters caught too much flack for the whole unanimous thing after the Warriors lost up 3-1. Ugh.
In other news, I found the results of this next question highly interesting. Karl-Anthony Towns is a beast, and he’s super young, but look who came in at number two!
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 48.3%
2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 20.7%
3. LeBron James, Cleveland – 17.2%
Also receiving votes: Stephen Curry, Golden State; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Last year: Anthony Davis – 86.2%
The Warriors’ players are spread all throughout the remaining questions. You should really check out the whole thing.
Here’s just a few examples:
Best Point Guard? Yup, Curry placed first with 63.3%.
Best shooting guard? Klay Thompson placed second with 40% of the vote.
Best small forward? Kevin Durant came in second with 23.2%.
Best power forward? Draymond Green placed third, with 16.1% of the vote.
I was gonna make a pithy joke about how Zaza Pachulia won the vote for best center with 100%, but then I looked and Draymond Green actually got votes in the catagory! Haha! He finished sixth, with 3.3%, meaning that one dude out there thinks Green is the best center in the league (looking straight at you, Bob Myers).
Man, sometimes I sit back and think about how frickin good this team is, and... That’s four positions! Out of the whole league! And Warriors players placed in the top three in each! Yikes.
No wonder the GMs gave them a 69% chance to win it all.