NBA.com 2017-18 GM Survey

John Schuhmann
Oct 4, 2017 9:55 AM ET

It's the Golden State Warriors and everybody else. In the 16-year history of the NBA.com GM Survey, no team has been as overwhelming a favorite to win the championship as this year's Warriors. After the champs went 16-1 in last year's postseason, the league's decision makers are expecting something similar next spring, with 93 percent of them picking Golden State to repeat. In each conference, there appears to be a clear top four. But beyond that, there are two teams – Philadelphia and Minnesota – GMs believe will be the most improved in the league. The Sixers have two rookies that received votes to be the best of their class five years from now. The Timberwolves have the guy they'd most like to build a franchise around. Of course, LeBron James remains king of the superlatives. He's the best passer, the best leader, the most versatile, and the smartest. The GMs responded to 47 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves. General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to that particular question, rather than all 30 GMs. GM SURVEY QUICK LINKS:
Predictions | Players | Offseason Moves | Rookies & International | Defense | Coaches | Miscellaneous
PAST GM SURVEYS:
2016-17 | 2015-16 | 2014-15 | 2013-14 | 2012-13 | 2011-12 | 2010-11 | 2009-10 | 2008-09 | 2007-08 |2006-07

PREDICTIONS

Which team will win the 2018 NBA Finals? 1. Golden State – 93% 2. Cleveland – 7% Last year: Golden State – 69% Rank the top four teams in the Eastern Conference
Last year: 97 percent picked Cleveland to win the East. Order after the Cavs was Toronto, Boston, Indiana, Detroit, Atlanta, Charlotte/Washington and Chicago. Rank the top four teams in the Western Conference
Last year: 97 percent picked Golden State to win the West. Order after the Warriors was San Antonio, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City, Portland, Utah, Memphis, Houston and Dallas.

PLAYERS

LeBron James, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry got high marks from NBA GMs.
Who will win the 2017-18 MVP? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 50% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State –29% 3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 11% 4. James Harden, Houston – 7% 5. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 4% Last year: LeBron James – 47% If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be? 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 29% 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 21% 3. LeBron James, Cleveland – 18% 4. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 14% 5. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 11% Also receiving votes: Stephen Curry, Golden State; Anthony Davis, New Orleans Last year: Karl-Anthony Towns – 48% Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 48% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 21% 3. James Harden, Houston – 14% 4. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 7% Also receiving votes: Kevin Durant, Golden State; Draymond Green, Golden State; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Last year: LeBron James – 75% Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2017-18? 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 21% 2. Kristaps Porzingis, New York – 14% Myles Turner, Indiana – 14% 4. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland – 10% 5. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota – 7% Also receiving votes: Jaylen Brown, Boston; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, L.A. Lakers; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia; Gary Harris, Denver; Rodney Hood, Utah; Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers; Zach LaVine, Chicago; Jamal Murray, Denver; Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Last year: Devin Booker – 31% Who is the best point guard in the NBA? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 62% 2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 28% 3. Chris Paul, Houston – 7% 4. John Wall, Washington – 3% Last year: Stephen Curry – 63% Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA? 1. James Harden, Houston – 83% 2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 10% Also receiving votes: Paul George, Oklahoma City; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Last year: James Harden – 57% Who is the best small forward in the NBA? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 61% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 32% 3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 7% Last year: LeBron James – 77% Who is the best power forward in the NBA? 1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 41% 2. LeBron James, Cleveland – 28% 3. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 17% 4. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 7% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Draymond Green, Golden State Last year: Anthony Davis – 29% Who is the best center in the NBA? 1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota – 28% 2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 24% 3. Marc Gasol, Memphis – 21% 4. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans – 14% Also receiving votes: Rudy Gobert, Utah; Draymond Green, Golden State; Nikola Jokic, Denver; DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers Last year: DeAndre Jordan – 33%

OFFSEASON MOVES

The Oklahoma City Thunder's roster remodel was a big hit among NBA GMs.
Which team made the best overall moves this offseason? 1. Oklahoma City – 43% 2. Boston – 25% 3. Minnesota – 14% 4. Houston – 11% 5. Golden State – 7% Last year: Golden State – 83% Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact? 1. Paul George, Oklahoma City – 59% 2. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota – 17% 3. Chris Paul, Houston – 10% 4. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 7% Also receiving votes: Kevin Durant (re-signed), Golden State; Paul Millsap, Denver Last year: Kevin Durant – 80% What was the most underrated player acquisition? 1. Paul Millsap, Denver – 24% 2. Avery Bradley, Detroit – 17% 3. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota – 10% Jae Crowder, Cleveland – 10% 5. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento – 7% Rudy Gay, San Antonio – 7% Also receiving votes: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, L.A. Lakers; Omri Casspi, Golden State; Jamal Crawford, Minnesota; Zach LaVine, Chicago; Kelly Olynyk, Miami; Patrick Patterson, Oklahoma City; P.J. Tucker, Houston Last year: George Hill – 24% Which team will be most improved in 2017-18? 1. Minnesota – 69% 2. Philadelphia – 17% Also receiving votes: Charlotte, Denver, L.A. Lakers, Oklahoma City Last year: Minnesota – 57% What was the most surprising move of the offseason? 1. Boston-Cleveland trade – 45% 2. Paul George to Oklahoma City – 24% 3. Chris Paul to Houston – 14% Also receiving votes: Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Tim Hardaway Jr. to New York, Gordon Hayward to Boston, Paul Millsap to Denver Last year: Kevin Durant to Golden State – 47%

ROOKIES & INTERNATIONAL

Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons may be the favorites for Kia MVP this season.
Who will win the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year? 1. Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers – 62% 2. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 24% 3. Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas – 7% Also receiving votes: De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento; Jayson Tatum, Boston Last year: Kris Dunn – 47% Which rookie will be the best player in five years? 1. Josh Jackson, Phoenix – 24% 2. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia – 21% Jayson Tatum, Boston – 21% 4. Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers – 14% Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 14% Also receiving votes: Jonathan Isaac, Orlando; Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Last year: Ben Simmons – 70% Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Dennis Smith Jr. (9), Dallas – 37% 2. Kyle Kuzma (27), L.A. Lakers – 22% 3. Donovan Mitchell (13), Utah – 7% Caleb Swanigan (26), Portland – 7% Also receiving votes: Jarrett Allen (22), Brooklyn; OG Anunoby (23), Toronto; John Collins (19), Atlanta; Terrance Ferguson (21), Oklahoma City; Josh Hart (30), L.A. Lakers; Josh Jackson (4), Phoenix; Jayson Tatum (3), Boston Last year: Dejounte Murray – 23% Who is the best international player in the NBA? 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 69% 2. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 14% 3. Marc Gasol, Memphis – 10% 4. Kristaps Porzingis, New York – 7% Last year: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 28% Who is the best international player NOT in the NBA? 1. Luka Doncic – 69% 2. Nando de Colo – 28% 3. Alexey Shved – 3% Last year: Milos Teodosic – 54%

DEFENSE

To NBA GMs, Kawhi Leonard is the best defender and best perimeter defender.
Who is the best defensive player in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 62% 2. Draymond Green, Golden State – 21% 3. Rudy Gobert, Utah – 10% Also receiving votes: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota; Hassan Whiteside, Miami Last year: Kawhi Leonard – 67% Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA? 1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 72% 2. Avery Bradley, Detroit – 14% Also receiving votes: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota; Draymond Green, Golden State; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City; Marcus Smart, Boston Last year: Kawhi Leonard – 67% Who is the best interior defender in the NBA?
1. Rudy Gobert, Utah – 66% 2. DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers – 24% Also receiving votes: Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Marc Gasol, Memphis; Draymond Green, Golden State Last year: DeAndre Jordan – 50% Which is the best defensive team in the NBA? 1. Golden State – 55% 2. San Antonio – 34% 3. Utah – 7% 4. Oklahoma City – 3% Last year: San Antonio – 50%

COACHES

Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich remain the top of the coaching class to NBA GMs.
Who is the best head coach in the NBA? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 82% 2. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 11% Also receiving votes: Rick Carlisle, Dallas; Erik Spoelstra, Miami Last year: Gregg Popovich – 83% Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 62% 2. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 17% 3. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 7% Also receiving votes: Scott Brooks, Washington; Rick Carlisle, Dallas; Quin Snyder, Utah; Brad Stevens, Boston Last year: Gregg Popovich – 67% Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments? 1. Rick Carlisle, Dallas – 34% 2. Brad Stevens, Boston – 31% 3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 24% 4. Stan Van Gundy, Detroit – 7% 5. Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta – 3% Last year: Rick Carlisle – 41% Which head coach runs the best offense? 1. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 59% 2. Mike D'Antoni, Houston – 24% 3. Brad Stevens, Boston – 10% Also receiving votes: Rick Carlisle, Dallas; Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Last year: Steve Kerr – 63% Which head coach has the best defensive schemes? 1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 41% 2. Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota – 34% 3. Steve Kerr, Golden State – 7% Quin Snyder, Utah – 7% Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 7% 6. Brad Stevens, Boston – 3% Last year: Tom Thibodeau– 60% Who is the best assistant coach in the NBA? 1. Ron Adams, Golden State – 21% 2. Ettore Messina, San Antonio – 14% 3. Mike Brown, Golden State – 10% David Vanterpool, Portland – 10% Also receiving votes: James Borrego, San Antonio; Jim Boylan, Cleveland; Chip Engelland, San Antonio; Darren Erman, New Orleans; Chris Finch, New Orleans; Tim Grgurich; Adrian Griffin, Oklahoma City; Darvin Ham, Atlanta; Melvin Hunt, Dallas; Alex Jensen, Utah; Igor Kokoskov, Utah; Brian Shaw, L.A. Lakers; Stephen Silas, Charlotte Last year: Ron Adams – 38% Which active player will make the best head coach someday? 1. Chris Paul, Houston – 39% 2. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio – 14% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 7% Garrett Temple, Sacramento – 7% Also receiving votes: Devin Booker, Phoenix; Vince Carter, Sacramento; Mike Conley, Memphis; Jared Dudley, Phoenix; LeBron James, Cleveland; Jameer Nelson, Denver; Kendrick Perkins, Cleveland; Jason Terry, Milwaukee; David West, Golden State Last year: Chris Paul – 28%

MISCELLANEOUS

John Wall edged out Russell Westbrook as the NBA's fastest player with the ball.
Which team is the most fun to watch? 1. Golden State – 90% 2. Houston – 7% 3. Denver – 3% Last year: Golden State – 93% Which team has the best home-court advantage? 1. Golden State – 76% 2. Oklahoma City – 7% San Antonio – 7% Also receiving votes: Denver, Toronto, Utah Last year: Golden State – 58% Which player is the most athletic? 1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 62% 2. LeBron James, Cleveland – 14% 3. Zach LaVine, Chicago – 10% Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Blake Griffin, LA Clippers; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Last year: Russell Westbrook – 62% Which player is the best pure shooter? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 71% 2. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 25% 3. Devin Booker, Phoenix – 4% Last year: Stephen Curry – 60% Which player is the fastest with the ball? 1. John Wall, Washington – 48% 2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 45% Also receiving votes: Kyrie Irving, Boston; Ish Smith, Detroit Last year: Russell Westbrook – 47% Which player is best at moving without the ball? 1. Klay Thompson, Golden State – 61% 2. J.J. Redick, Philadelphia – 14% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 7% Kyle Korver, Cleveland – 7% Also receiving votes: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio; Draymond Green, Golden State; Patty Mills, San Antonio Last year: Klay Thompson – 40% Which player is the best passer? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 36% 2. Chris Paul, Houston – 32% 3. James Harden, Houston – 7% Ricky Rubio, Utah – 7% John Wall, Washington – 7% Also receiving votes: Stephen Curry, Golden State; Marc Gasol, Memphis; Milos Teodosic, LA Clippers Last year: Chris Paul – 62% What bench player makes the biggest impact when he enters the game? 1. Andre Iguodala, Golden State – 41% 2. Eric Gordon, Houston – 24% 3. Jamal Crawford, Minnesota – 10% 4. Lou Williams, LA Clippers – 7% Also receiving votes: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio; James Johnson, Miami; Tyler Johnson, Miami; Enes Kanter, New York; Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Last year: Jamal Crawford – 47% Who is the toughest player in the NBA? 1. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City – 14% Draymond Green, Golden State – 14% Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 14% 4. LeBron James, Cleveland – 10% 5. Tony Allen, New Orleans – 7% Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City – 7% Also receiving votes: Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers; DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans; Jae Crowder, Cleveland; Manu Ginobili, San Antonio; Marcin Gortat, Washington; James Johnson, Miami; Chris Paul, Houston; Marcus Smart, Boston; P.J. Tucker, Houston; David West, Golden State Last year: Tony Allen – 23% Which player is the best leader? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 43% 2. Chris Paul, Houston – 21% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 14% 4. Mike Conley, Memphis – 7% Also receiving votes: Draymond Green, Golden State; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Last year: LeBron James – 57% Who is the most versatile player in the NBA? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 55% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 14% Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio – 14% 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 10% 5. Draymond Green, Golden State – 7% Last year: LeBron James – 75% Which player has the best basketball IQ? 1. LeBron James, Cleveland – 64% 2. Chris Paul, Houston –14% 3. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 11% Also receiving votes: Marc Gasol, Memphis; James Harden, Houston; John Wall, Washington Last year: LeBron James – 66% Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line? 1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 55% 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State – 34% 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston – 7% 4. LeBron James, Cleveland – 3% Last year: Stephen Curry – 76% What rule (regarding play, Draft/Lottery, playoff format, etc.) most needs to change? 1. Playoff seeding – 27% 2. Draft Lottery odds/system – 21% 3. Draft combine (timing, medical testing, etc.) – 11% 4. Advance-the-ball rule – 7% Also receiving votes: Enforce discontinued dribble; Adopt FIBA goaltending/basket interference rules; Fouls on flailing jump-shots; Intentional fouls; Minimum age; National TV schedule (more balanced); No max contracts; Reduce replay; Revenue sharing; Schedule Note: Some surveys were returned before Lottery reform was passed. Last year: Draft Lottery odds/system – 30% John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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