10 Takeaways From the NBA General Manager Survey

    NBA.com released its 17th annual GM survey Wednesday. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from the survey, ranging from the best team to the most underrated

    October 5, 2018

    NBA.com released its 17th annual GM survey Wednesday. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from the survey, ranging from the best team to the most underrated offseason move.


    DeMarcus Cousins heading to the Bay Area was a shocker.

    DeMarcus Cousins was looking to rebuild his value this season to land a max contract in the summer of 2019. Coming off a torn Achilles is hard; returning to the player you were before the injury is even harder. Cousins wanted to go to a place with little pressure to return early and an opportunity to put up big numbers. The Warriors afford him the ability to do both.


    There appears to be less push to change the playoff format.

    In 2017, 27 percent of general managers said the playoff seeding format needed to be changed. The proposed rule change would essentially eliminate conferences and pick the 16 best teams to make the playoffs and seed them accordingly. This year, that number is down to 18 percent. Lottery reform was the second-highest priority among general managers with 14 percent of the vote. Thank “The Process” for that.


    The big men in the 2018 draft class will eventually be the best players from the class.

    In a league shifting away from traditional big men, general managers still see those players providing the best value overall. 27 percent of GMs said DeAndre Ayton will be the best rookie in five seasons with Jaren Jackson Jr. also receiving 27 percent of the vote. Duke teammates Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. also received votes. Of the six players receiving votes in this category, four are power forwards or centers.


    “The Process” worked.

    47 percent of general managers believed Philadelphia’s core was the most promising, showing Sam Hinkie’s rebuilding effort has been viewed positively around the league. The 76ers still have several future draft picks as part of this rebuild and will likely continue to add to that core.


    Luka Doncic is going to have a monster season.

    Doncic was the top pick among GMs to win Rookie of the Year, getting a whopping 43 percent of the vote. Doncic will have plenty of opportunity to grow in Dallas and should be fighting for a playoff spot in the latter half of the season. His numbers likely won’t be the best among rookies, but he will probably have the greatest impact on the court.


    The Lakers’ young players are held in high regard.

    LeBron James may have been right to invest his next four years in Los Angeles. General managers included Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma on the list of breakout players for 2019-20 and sweet shooter Svi Mykhailiuk finished second in the “biggest steal of the draft” category. Lonzo Ball isn’t anywhere to be found, but most of the Lakers young guys find themselves on the list.


    Defense resides in Utah.

    The Jazz might have showcased their offensive firepower behind Donovan Mitchell’s breakout campaign, but general managers still view the Jazz as a team built on strong defense. 45 percent of GMs listed Utah as the best defensive team and Rudy Gobert ran away with the vote for best interior defender (he was tied with Kawhi Leonard for best overall defender). With head coach Quin Snyder receiving the most votes for best defensive coach, it’s clear Utah is viewed as a defensive juggernaut.


    Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis are the next big stars.

    GMs voted Antetokounmpo and Davis into the top spots for players they’d like to build a franchise around. Both players have emerged at their respective positions and will be counted on heavily by teams this upcoming season. Antetokounmpo has been able to carry the Bucks in the East and Davis should keep the Pelicans in playoff contention singlehandedly.


    It’s still LeBron’s league.

    James made the jump to Los Angeles this offseason and general managers still see the league revolving around him. They voted James to win the MVP award and still view him as the best small forward in basketball. GMs also see the Lakers making the biggest improvement in 2019 and James providing most of that impact as the best newcomer. Despite James heading into his 16th NBA season, 17 percent of general managers tabbed him the player they’d most like to start a franchise with.


    The Warriors are winning it all.

    Danny Ainge and Daryl Morey each found an additional vote to give Boston and Houston a 7 percent chance to win the title, but most general managers picked the Warriors to win it all. With the potential to send out five All-Stars in the postseason, Golden State should face little competition if healthy. The biggest question surrounding the Warriors might be how the team will look after free agency, when both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant could depart.


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