GM's predict Heat repeat against Lakers and LeBron will win 4th MVP

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

In their 11th annual survey, NBA.com selected 30 general mangers to predict and assess the best talent in the league. Not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel, the GM's were asked 57 questions about the best teams, players, coaches, offseason moves and fans.

The Best Team?

For the 2nd straight year the Miami Heat are the overwhelming favorite to win the NBA title. Last year 74% of GM's predicted the Heat to win and this year 70% of GM's felt the same. The Los Angeles Lakers finished 2nd with 23.3% and the Oklahoma City Thunder were 3rd at just 6.7%. In addition, 96.7% of GM's picked the Heat to win the eastern conference while just 3.3% chose the Boston Celtics.

Interesting to note, is the drastic percentage changes in the western conferences. The Lakers were the overwhelming pick for best offseason moves (86.2%) but also garnered 60% of votes to win the west. Despite reaching the NBA finals, the Thunder dropped significantly in one year in western conference votes, going from the clear favorite (67.9%) to the runner up (36.7%).

Shockingly only 5 teams received any votes to win their respective conferences: Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets.

MVP?

Last year Kevin Durant was the favorite to win the award, collecting 66.7% of votes but this year he took a backseat to the reigning MVP, LeBron James. Ironically 66.7% of GM's predicted LeBron as the MVP this year with Durant receiving 30% and Carmelo Anthony garnering 3.3% of votes.

Perhaps what's even more impressive is that for the 5th time in the last 7 seasons, GM's have predicted LeBron James to the be the MVP.

NBA.com GM Survey - MVP prediction

Year Prediction Pct. Actual
2002-03 Kobe Bryant 30.8% Tim Duncan
2003-04 Tim Duncan 42.9% Kevin Garnett
2004-05 Shaquille O’Neal 57.1% Steve Nash
2005-06 Tim Duncan 58.3% Steve Nash
2006-07 LeBron James 39.3% Dirk Nowitzki
2007-08 LeBron James 29.6% Kobe Bryant
2008-08 LeBron James 55.6% LeBron James
2009-10 LeBron James 69.0% LeBron James
2010-11 Kevin Durant 66.7% Derrick Rose
2011-12 Kevin Durant 55.6% LeBron James
2012-13 LeBron James 66.7%


Best Players?

When asked if they could sign one player right now to build a franchise around, 80% of GM's voted LeBron James. That's a staggering statistical display of dominance, respect and admiration from around the league. LeBron has played 9 seasons and will be turning 28 in December, but is still leaps and bounds ahead of his peers in the eyes of general managers. Kevin Durant finished 2nd with 16.7% and Dwight Howard received 3.3% of votes.

LeBron was also the leading vote getter (50%) for the player that causes opposing coaches to make the most adjustments. I'm sure Scott Brooks cringed when he read that poll. As recently saw in the NBA finals, Erik Spoelstra and the Heat displayed "positionless" basketball, withe Lebron operating as the head of the snake. I wouldn't want to guard him either.

LeBron also ranked first as the league's most athletic player (62.1%), the best finisher (66.7%) and the most dangerous in the open floor (60%).

Veteran Ray Allen also ranked the best in a few categories, collecting 56.7% of votes as the best pure shooter and 56.7% of votes as the best at moving without the ball.

To no surprise, LeBron James was voted the best small forward in the league for the 7th straight year. What's most interesting and legitimately scary for opposing teams, is that LeBron was also ranked 3rd (16.7%) in the list of the NBA's best power forwards, only behind Kevin Love (30%) and Dirk Nowitzki (23.3%)

NBA.com GM survey - best player by position

Year Best PG Best SG Best SF Best PF Best C
2002-03 Jason Kidd Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady Tim Duncan Shaquille O’Neal
2003-04 Jason Kidd Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady Tim Duncan Shaquille O’Neal
2004-05 Jason Kidd Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady Tim Duncan Shaquille O’Neal
2005-06 Steve Nash Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady Tim Duncan Shaquille O’Neal
2006-07 Steve Nash Kobe Bryant LeBron James Tim Duncan Shaquille O’Neal
2007-08 Steve Nash Kobe Bryant LeBron James Tim Duncan Tim Duncan
2008-08 Chris Paul Kobe Bryant LeBron James Tim Duncan Dwight Howard
2009-10 Chris Paul Kobe Bryant LeBron James Tim Duncan Dwight Howard
2010-11 Deron Williams Kobe Bryant LeBron James Gasol/Nowitzki Dwight Howard
2011-12 Derrick Rose Kobe Bryant LeBron James Dirk Nowitzki Dwight Howard
2012-13 Chris Paul Kobe Bryant LeBron James Kevin Love Dwight Howard

Perhaps this year, fans will finally get to see the dream matchup come true of Kobe Bryant vs LeBron James. Although in all likelihood, Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier should see the most time guarding the Black Mamba should this finals matchup happen. Only time will tell.

You can view the full list and breakdown of the GM survey on NBA.com.

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