We are less than a week from the NBA regular season. There are a lot of story lines heading into the 2016-17 season. For one, the San Antonio Spurs are starting their first season in 19 years without Tim Duncan.
Secondly, the Cleveland Cavaliers or Golden State Warriors returning to The Finals for a third straight year is likely. As hard is it may be to imagine or for one to come to terms with, you’re not alone.
Before the start of a new season, NBA.com conducted its annual General Manager survey and almost every general manager thinks that the Cavaliers and Warriors will play for the championship again.
During the same poll conducted last season, the GM’s correctly predicted the Cavaliers would win their first championship last season- and most believe the Warriors will win the rubber match.
Lets take a dive into this seasons poll. The General Managers were asked 48 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves.
Take note: GMs were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel.
Quickly diving into the top teams in their respective conferences, to nobodies surprise, the Golden State Warriors sit atop the Western Conference with the San Antonio Spurs appearing in second.
Sep 26, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) poses for photos during media day at the Spurs training facility. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
The Warriors got 96.7-percent of finishing atop the conference, while the Spurs, 3.3.
With the Warriors gaining the big signing of all of free agency in Kevin Durant, all eyes will be on Golden State and for the Spurs, surely this means nothing to them.
Kawhi Leonard received votes as far as which player int he NBA would a GM start a team with.
You can only guess whom the top three consisted. Leonard is a great choice and seeing him get mentioned only speaks volumes for him. Leonard has proven to be one of, if not the leagues best two-way player in the game. His worth ethic and continuing to improve his game over seasons states the facts.
Leonard also walked away, as it is no surprise, as being named the ‘best defensive player in the NBA’ as well as ‘best perimeter defender’.
Leonard’s teammate LaMarcus Aldridge was also mentioned in the survey as being ranked fourth when speaking of the best power forwards in the league.
Spurs lone draft pick in the draft, Dejounte Murray was rated as the ‘biggest steal’ in the draft. Murray has a lot of upside and being on a team with a lot of veterans and knowledge can only make him adjust in the NBA.
San Antonio has a defensive mentality and once again they are voted as being the best defensive team in the NBA. That leads into Gregg Popovich whom was named ‘Best Coach in the NBA’ as well as ‘Best Manager/Motivator.
Popovich has a way with words and every player on his roster sticks to every single one he speaks. He is not only respected by his team but to all other players in the league as well. He treats everyone with the same respect, whether you are a rookie, or a 18-year veteran, you will still get scolded by the best.
As I looked over the survey I saw some areas where I felt the Spurs should have been represented. For one, Leonard was not mentioned in the MVP race, nor as a top small-forward in the league.