Last week, we saw the newest results of the annual NBA GM survey. Where they answer questions from predictions, to offseason moves, to international players. Here I’ll give my answers to most of these questions, and it will include a few spoilers of my NBA predictions coming in the days ahead.
The original 2017-18 NBA GM Survey can be read here on NBA.com
Which team will win the 2018 NBA Finals?
If you’re going to ask me whether I would bet the Warriors or the field, I’m going with the Warriors. 4 top 25 players in their starting lineup, 2 of the top 5 players. Being able to keep Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala, while also adding MORE shooting with Nick Young and Omri Casspi. The Warriors, barring injury, should cruise to another title.
GM Consensus: 1. Golden State Warriors, 2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Rank the top 4 in the Eastern Conference
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Boston Celtics
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
GM Consensus: 1. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2. Boston Celtics, 3. Washington Wizards, 4. Toronto Raptors
Rank the top 4 teams in the Western Conference
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- San Antonio Spurs
GM Consensus: 1. Golden State Warriors, 2. Houston Rockets, 3. San Antonio Spurs, 4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Who will win the 2017-18 MVP?
This is going to be the toughest out of all the awards to pick. I don’t think Westbrook has a realistic shot, due to the Durant narrative being gone and the additions of Paul George and Melo. I don’t think Harden has as much of a chance because of Chris Paul. And I think Giannis Antetokounmpo can make a run if the Bucks can get a top 3 seed in the East. But for now, I like LeBron James‘ chances of getting his 5th MVP. Isaiah Thomas won’t be back until the all-star break (possibly), and they don’t have Kyrie anymore. He hasn’t won since 2012-13, so the voter fatigue isn’t there either.
GM Consensus: 1. LeBron James, 2. Kevin Durant, 3. Kawhi Leonard, 4. James Harden, 5. Stephen Curry
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
I’m picking Giannis Antetokounpo. He has the most unique physical set of skills we’ve seen since LeBron James, and at 22 years old, I’d have the chance at an MVP talent and a once in a generation type player for the next 15 years. And I’d bank on him putting a three point shot into his game, making him even more unstoppable.
GM Consensus: 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 3. LeBron James, 4. Kawhi Leonard, 5. Kevin Durant
Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?
LeBron James. Say what you want about Steph, Westbrook, Durant, and Harden, LeBron puts the most fear into the hearts of opposing teams. His strength and athleticism, combined with his IQ and his passing ability. He’s the most unstoppable force in the league and It’s almost impossible to make the right adjustments when he’s on the top of his game.
GM Consensus: 1. LeBron James, 2. Stephen Curry, 3. James Harden, 4. Russell Westbrook
Which player is most likely going to have a breakout season?
I don’t agree with the top 2 of the GM consensus. Towns and Porzingis are both great players, and young faces of the league, meaning they’ve already broke out. So I’m going a little off the radar here with my pick, D’Angelo Russell. I love that he’s out of LA now, and Brooklyn will be the perfect fit. Likely starting alongside Jeremy Lin, Russell will have the green light to score and he’ll likely lead the Nets in points. I’m also (low-key) fascinated with the idea of the Nets as a shocker 8 seed in the East this year as well.
GM Consensus: 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, 2. Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner, 4. Jusuf Nurkic, 5. Andrew Wiggins
Who is the best point guard in the NBA?
I’ll take Steph Curry anyday. The two time MVP is one of the best shooters in NBA history, while also making his teammates better. He may have his problems on defense, but his offense and playmaking more than makes up for it.
GM Consensus: 1. Stephen Curry, 2. Russell Westbrook, 3. Chris Paul, 4. John Wall
Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?
Another easy one, James Harden. The guy that should have won MVP last year can score in a variety of ways. He can get to the basket at will, shoot the 3 at a great clip, and is one of the best in the league at getting to the free throw line. Also, I don’t agree with their votes having Klay Thompson as the #2 shooting guard. I’d put Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan over him.
GM Consensus: 1. James Harden, 2. Klay Thompson.
Who is the best small forward in the NBA?
Until he retires, or suffers a severe drop in skill, LeBron James will be the best small forward in the NBA.
GM Consensus: 1. LeBron James, 2. Kevin Durant, 3. Kawhi Leonard
Who is the best power forward in the NBA?
Anthony Davis. He’s elite in most facets of the game, and is a franchise player. It’s a shame the Pelicans haven’t done enough to put more talent around him.
GM Consensus: 1. Anthony Davis, 2. LeBron James, 3. Kevin Durant, 4. Karl-Anthony Towns
Who is the best center in the NBA?
Make it a clean sweep for the consensus picks. Karl-Anthony Towns has it all. He can shoot the three, handle like a point guard, and defend the paint. Should have been an all-star last year, he’s a sure bet to be first team All-NBA this year and for years to come.
GM Consensus: 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, 2. Anthony Davis, 3. Marc Gasol, 4. DeMarcus Cousins
Which team made the best overall moves this off-season?
I love what the Oklahoma City Thunder did. In order to show Russell Westbrook you mean business, you have to take the risk of a one year rental for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. In turn, he signed a 5 year max extension, and puts them in the title conversation. And don’t sleep on their great value signing of backup forward Patrick Patterson.
GM Consensus: 1. Oklahoma City Thunder, 2. Boston Celtics, 3. Minnesota Timberwolves, 4. Houston Rockets, 5. Golden State Warriors
Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?
I think it’s Chris Paul to Houston. You saw in the playoffs last year, James Harden was absolutely gassed. He had an MVP type season, but in the end, it was all too much for him to carry. Getting another primary ball-handler and a future hall of famer in Chris Paul is just what Harden needed.
GM Consensus: 1. Paul George to OKC, 2. Jimmy Butler to MIN, 3. Chris Paul to HOU, 4. Kyrie Irving to BOS
What was the most underrated player acquisition?
Denver finally got their star signing with Paul Millsap. He’s always been one of the most underrated players in the league and should be a perfect fit next to Nikola Jokic. Denver has an intriguing mix of young talent and the signing of Millsap could get them as high as a 6 seed in this loaded Western Conference.
GM Consensus: 1. Paul Millsap to DEN, 2. Avery Bradley to DET, 3. Jimmy Butler to MIN, Jae Crowder to CLE, 5. Bogdan Bogdonavic to SAC, Rudy Gay to SAS
Which team will be most improved in 2017-18
It has to be the Minnesota Timberwolves right? The development of Towns and Wiggins, plus the additions of Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford, and Taj Gibson. They should be a top 5 seed with that talent.
GM Consensus: 1. Minnesota Timberwolves, 2. Philadelphia 76ers
What was the most surprising move of the off-season?
For me it was Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. I remember I was at work listening to the draft, and the news just came out of nowhere. They didn’t give up that much for him and they were able to swap picks in the process.
GM Consensus: 1. Kyrie Irving to Boston, 2. Paul George to OKC, 3. Chris Paul to Houston
Rookies & International
Who will win 2017-18 Rookie of the Year?
I’m taking Ben Simmons. A “redshirt” year last year, Simmons has Greek Freak type talent that should get put to good use with the talent around him. He’s sort of gone under the radar amongst this rookie class and especially the hype of Lonzo Ball. If the Sixers get a playoff spot, Simmons will win.
GM Consensus: 1. Lonzo Ball, 2. Ben Simmons
Which rookie will be the best player in five years?
I think it will end up being Lonzo Ball. He’s already an elite passer, and can shoot the three. He’ll in time bring the showtime style back to LA and be able to recruit elite talent back to the Lakers.
GM Consensus: 1. Josh Jackson, 2. Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, 4. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons
Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft?
Call it a homer pick if you want, but I think it was OG Anunoby falling to 23 to the Raptors. He has elite athleticism and the tools to become a shutdown defender in this league. If he didn’t have a knee injury his last year at Indiana, he could have went top 10.
GM Consensus: 1. Dennis Smith Jr 2. Kyle Kuzma, 3. Donovan Mitchell, Caleb Swanigan
Who is the best international player in the NBA?
Easy again, it’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. You can scroll to my earlier answer if you would like to read my thoughts on him again.
GM Consensus: 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2. Nikola Jokic, 3. Marc Gasol, 4. Kristaps Porzingis
Best international player NOT in the NBA?
They say Luka Doncic is a great talent coming to the draft next year, but I have no idea b/c I’ve never seen him. Also, the GMs say Nando De Colo an Alexey Shved as the 2 and 3. They weren’t any good when they were in the NBA and that’s why they’re not over here now. You’d think there would be better answers.
GM Consensus: 1. Luka Doncic, 2. Nando De Colo, 3. Alexey Shved.
I am skipping the defensive and coaching sections of the survey.
Which team is the most fun to watch?
People may be bored of the Golden State Warriors greatness, but I’m not. Their mix of shooting and willingness to share the ball makes them such a fun watch.
GM Consensus: 1. Golden State Warriors, 2. Houston Rockets, 3. Denver Nuggets
Which team has the best home court advantage?
I don’t care what you say, the Toronto Raptors have the best home court advantage. They’re loud, they sell out every game even when they’re losing, and what other team do you see that has 10,000 people OUTSIDE of their arena cheering at playoff games. WE THE NORTH!
GM Consensus: 1. Golden State, 2. Oklahoma City, 3. San Antonio
Which player is the most athletic?
I’ll agree with their consensus that it’s Russell Westbrook. He’s probably the most athletic point guard of all-time and it’s insane what he can do on the court. DO THE DUNK CONTEST PLEASE!!
GM Consensus: 1. Russell Westbrook, 2. LeBron James, 3. Zach Lavine
Which player is the best pure shooter?
It’s gotta be Steph Curry. No matter how he does it, I think every shot that he takes is going to go in. He makes it look so easy, and that’s what’s so great about it.
GM Consensus: 1. Stephen Curry, 2. Klay Thompson, 3. Devin Booker
Which player is the fastest with the ball
For me it’s John Wall. He can go to coast to coast in the blink of an eye, and make highlight reel plays in the process.
GM Consensus: 1. John Wall, 2. Russell Westbrook
Which player do you want taking the last shot with the game on the line?
I want the ball in Kevin Durant‘s hands. His size and dribbling ability, he can rise up over anyone in the league. And his release point is so high it’s unblockable. His clutch numbers speak for themselves and he can do it on the biggest stage.
GM Consensus: 1. Stephen Curry, 2. Kevin Durant, 3. Kyrie Irving, 4. LeBron James
What rule needs the most change?
Well, they recently reformed the lottery so that’s out. They changed the amount timeouts so that’s out. I like the East-vs-West format so I wouldn’t vote for that. I would adopt a few of FIBA’s rules. Including basket interference, making any ball a live-ball after it touches the rim, and no timeouts during a live ball situation.
GM Consensus: 1. Playoff seeding, 2. Lottery reform, 3. Draft Combine, 4. Advance the ball rule