MAJORITY of the NBA’s general managers believe the Golden State Warriors will make a third straight finals appearance and claim the title over the Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
Of the 30 GMs, 29 believe the Cavaliers will regain the Eastern Conference crown and the same number see the Warriors topping the West anew. GMs are not allowed to pick their own teams, with Boston and San Antonio getting one vote each.
Golden State was picked as likely to become champion by 69 percent of the GMs in the NBA.com’s annual survey.
Cavs superstar LeBron James is also projected to bag his fifth MVP award (47%), with a wide margin over Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (23%). Golden State’s two-time MVP Stephen Curry was picked third, tied with the Houston Rockets’ James Harden (10%).
For being able to make big shots with the game on the line, Curry ranked first as the player GMs want followed by James, who was also picked as the best leader and the player with the best basketball IQ.
Asked who they would pick as a franchise player if they were starting a new franchise, the GMs coveted young Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns (48%). New Warrior Kevin Durant was second (215) and James was third (17%).
Selected as the best players by position were Curry at point guard and Harden at shooting guard, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan at center, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans at power forward.
The versatile James, the overwhelming choice at small forward, was also the second pick for power forward.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was considered as the best head coach.
Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs is considered best defensive player as well as the best perimeter defender. The Clippers’ Jordan received the nod as best interior defender.