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VOL. 132 | NO. 200 | Monday, October 9, 2017

Warriors to Win NBA Title Again, NBA GM Survey Says

By Don Wade

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

Marc Gasol is the third-best center in the NBA, Mike Conley the fourth-best leader, and former Grizzlies defensive stopper Tony Allen is still tough, but no longer the toughest guy in the league.

And oh yeah, it is inevitable the Golden State Warriors again win the NBA title and LeBron James is the most likely to win Most Valuable Player.

Those were among the results from the NBA.com 2017-2018 General Managers Survey http://www.nba.com/gmsurvey/2017#/.

In the annual survey of NBA general managers the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol was rated the third-best center in the league and the third-best international player in the NBA. He also received votes for best passer, highest basketball IQ, and best interior defender.  (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Gasol garnered 21 percent of the GMs’ votes for best center. Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns was voted best center with 28 percent, followed by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans with 24 percent. Gasol also was voted third-best international player behind Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (The Greek Freak) and Denver’s Nikola Jokic. Gasol received votes in several other categories, including best basketball IQ, best interior defender and best passer.

Finishing ahead of Conley for best leader were Cleveland’s LeBron James (43 percent), Houston point guard Chris Paul (21 percent) and Golden State point guard Steph Curry (14 percent). Conley got 7 percent of the vote and also received votes in the category of best future coach.

The Warriors received 93 percent of the votes from the league’s 30 GMs to become NBA champs and Cleveland got 7 percent.

General managers were not permitted to vote for their own teams, players or coaches. The GMs responded to a total of 47 different questions and percentages were based on the poll of respondents to that particular question (not all 30 GMs).

A year ago, the Grizzlies received votes when GMs were asked to rank the top four teams in the Western Conference. This year, Memphis did not and the GMs went with 1. Golden State. 2. Houston 3. San Antonio. 4. Oklahoma City. Minnesota finished fifth in the voting and Portland sixth.

James picked up 50 percent of the vote for 2017-18 league MVP, and was followed by Golden State’s Kevin Durant (29 percent) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (11 percent), Houston’s James Harden (7 percent) and Curry (4 percent).

Asked which player they would most want if starting an NBA franchise today, the top choices were Towns (29 percent), Antetokounmpo (21 percent) and James (18 percent).

Towns also was the No. 1 choice among GMs for player most likely to have a breakout season.

Curry landed 62 percent of the votes for best point guard with OKC’s Russell Westbrook second (28 percent) and Paul third (7 percent). Harden received a whopping 83 percent of the votes for best shooting guard, with the Warriors’ Klay Thompson second (10 percent).

James was judged the best small forward (61 percent) and Davis the best power forward (41 percent).

In the player acquisitions category, the Thunder’s Paul George (59 percent) was predicted to make the biggest impact and was followed by Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler (17 percent) and Paul (10 percent).

The Timberwolves were the overwhelming choice for most improved team (69 percent). The L.A. Lakers’ Lonzo Ball was predicted to win Rookie of the Year (62 percent).

San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich again was judged the best coach in the NBA, but Dallas coach Rick Carlisle received the highest marks for best in-game adjustments (34 percent) with Boston’s Brad Stevens (31 percent) close behind.

James and Paul were deemed the game’s best passers, Leonard the top perimeter defender and Utah’s Rudy Gobert the best interior defender.

Last year, Tony Allen was voted the league’s toughest player; this year, OKC’s Steven Adams, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Leonard each received 14 percent of the vote, James was fourth (10 percent) and Allen, now with New Orleans, was tied for fifth with Westbrook (7 percent).

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