Who would you start a franchise with? If the game was on the line, who should take the shot? Who has the best home-court crowd? All questions we love to argue about. Every year the NBA has a survey of all 30 GMs asking them a series of questions. We will go over the most interesting ones.
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
This is the most interesting one every year, the bread and butter of being a GM. While coaches are in win-now mode, one game at the time state of mind, GMs think long term. This is where their expertise should come out to shine. This is not who is the best player in the NBA, but who would you build around thinking long term. And the winner is:
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 30%
2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 23%
3. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 20%
4. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 17%
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 7%
6. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 3%
Last year: Karl-Anthony Towns – 29%
The most interesting part here is how the tables have turned on KAT. Last year a lot of people had him over AD, he didn't even crack 3% of the vote. This is probably based on his defensive numbers and the drama around Minnesota this year. In a small ball league, we have two frontcourt guys at the top, but these are hybrids who can defend almost any position and stretch the floor to the 3pt line. AD has a better shot but is significantly more prone to injury so it is safe to assume why he is not no.1.
What was the most underrated player acquisition?
We all know it's good to get LeBron or KD on your team. Here we get an insight into the moves that make a GM great. The mid-range contracts or minimum guys who can be successful role players and contribute when it counts. Which players will make the biggest impact relative to expectations after their signing?
1. Tyreke Evans, Indiana – 13%
2. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio – 10%
Jabari Parker, Chicago – 10%
Julius Randle, New Orleans – 10%
Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City – 10%
6. Trevor Ariza, Phoenix – 7%
DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State – 7%
Isaiah Thomas, Denver – 7%
Last year: Paul Millsap – 24%
Worthy to notice the low percentage of the winner and how the votes dispersed. Only 13% for the win. I'd like to know who voted for whom in this one. Everyone had great expectations of Denver last year with Millsaps addition, but injuries sidelined him and they lost the last game of the season against Minnesota to get into the playoffs. But, with Millsap on the court Denver did improve so we can say the GMs got it right-ish. To be fair, no-one saw Oladipo coming but has to be noted. Evans was one of the low-key breakout players of the season last year and Memphis not trading him was a fireable offence. If he continues to play that way, this was a rational choice.
Which rookie will be the best player in five years?
No one can know for sure, but hey, we don't get pay millions to make draft selections and project player performance. This isn't just their opinion on the player, but also where the think the league is going. So, what kind of players will the NBA value in 5 years?
1. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix – 27%
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis – 27%
3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 17%
4. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento – 13%
Kevin Knox, New York – 13%
6. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago – 3%
Last year: Josh Jackson – 24%
Similar to the first question, seems the GMs believe the pendulum is slowly swinging back to the frontcourt, or more broadly size in general. Last year everyone talked about wing players so Josh Jackson won (Jason Tatum anyone?), this year it's a tie between a center and a power forward/center. Luka is a ball handler but they have him guarding power forwards in the preseason. The only exception here is Knox who had an amazing summer league, but you know, he is on the Knicks so who knows what will happen in 5 years.
Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?
So this one is not who was the best player drafted, but relative to his draft position, who is the best player. There are always a few of those "How did they miss on him" kind of guys. If we were to trust the GMs, this year those players are:
1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11), LA Clippers – 27%
2. Svi Mykhailiuk (47), L.A. Lakers – 13%
2. Wendell Carter Jr. (7), Chicago – 10%
Michael Porter Jr. (14), Denver – 10%
Gary Trent Jr. (37), Portland – 10%
6. Luka Doncic (3), Dallas – 7%
Kevin Knox (9), New York – 7%
Last year: Dennis Smith Jr. – 37%
Gilgeous-Alexander got a lot of buzz and we may have a video of him naming all the players drafted before him in 5 years, but the most notable part is that the Lakers have been sneaky good with their late picks in the past few years (Kuzma, Hart) and seems they did it again.
Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?
This one will be short, I included this just to make a point.
1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 60%
2. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota – 7%
Draymond Green, Golden State – 7%
Victor Oladipo, Indiana – 7%
Last year: Kawhi Leonard – 72%
He was injured before last year's season. Didn't play almost any significant basketball this year. 72% and 60 %. This just shows you what kind of a force this man is. The Klaw!
Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
A coach has to know his Xs-Os, has to be a good in-game manager and then there is 15 egos to keep in line. Who has it all and is the dream of all GMs?
1. Brad Stevens, Boston – 47%
2. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 30%
3. Mike D'Antoni, Houston – 7%
Steve Kerr, Golden State – 7%
Last year: Gregg Popovich – 82%
There is a new darling in town. I won't go through all the coaches categories but FYI, Stevens is in top 3 in ALL OF THEM. He should call Ainge right now and ask for a raise.
Which active player will make the best head coach someday?
You can probably guess who is considered to be the best floor general, strategist on the court etc. But could you guess the other guys on the list?
1. Chris Paul, Houston – 25%
2. C.J. McCollum, Portland – 7%
Jameer Nelson – 7%
Rajon Rondo, L.A. Lakers – 7%
Garrett Temple, Memphis – 7%
CP3 is an obvious one, and I would expect point guards on the list. C.J. is a cerebral guy so why not. Garrett Temple? I guess I need to read up on him a bit more, would never predict this in a million years. My apologies Mr. Temple.
Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line?
We all know the answer is Paul George, but I guess they forgot to point that out in the question. So, AFTER PG13 who do you want to take a shot with the game on the line?
1. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 40%
2. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 27%
3. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 17%
4. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 10%
5. James Harden, Houston – 7%
Last year: Stephen Curry – 55%
Nailing a few monster threes in the playoffs will get you a win these days. Just waiting for KD to say no one appreciates him because this wasn't 100%.
All data courtesy of NBA.com. You can read the entire survey here