Pacers Draw Praise in Annual GM Survey

Every year, NBA.com conducts a GM survey with all the general managers across the league, asking them to answer a variety of questions about the league's best teams, players, coaches, and more. This year's survey results were released today, and the Pacers did well in a number of different categories.

This year's survey included 48 questions and general managers were not allowed to list their own team or personnel as their answer to any question.

Rival general managers appear to consider the Pacers as a serious contender in the Eastern Conference, tabbing Indiana as the fourth-best team in the East. Respondents were asked to rank the top four teams in each conference. 3.3 percent ranked the Pacers second, 16.7 percent had them third, and 32.1 percent put them fourth.

Unsurprisingly, the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers were a near-unanimous choice for first in the East, while the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics came in second and third, respectively. Detroit was just behind the Pacers in fifth, with Atlanta sixth and Charlotte and Washington tying for seventh.

The 2016-17 MVP race may be the most wide-open we've seen in a while, especially considering that Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — winners of the last three MVP trophies — are now teammates in Golden State. Pacers All-Star forward Paul George has said it's a personal goal to win MVP at some point in his career and at least one GM thinks that this could be the year.

George came in sixth in the question "Who will win the 2016-17 MVP?" receiving 3.3 percent of the vote. Four-time MVP LeBron James ranked first in the survey, receiving 46.7 percent of the vote. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was second, Curry and Rockets guard James Harden tied for third, and Durant was fifth.

League executives also see a big year in store for Pacers center Myles Turner, as the 20-year-old was tabbed third in "most likely to have a breakout season in 2016-17." The second-year big man received 10.3 percent of the votes in this category, ranking only behind two other players from the same 2015 NBA Draft class: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (first with 31 percent of the vote) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year.

The Pacers also drew high praise for revamping their roster over the summer. Indiana tied with Utah for second in "best overall moves this offseason." Golden State was first in this category after signing Durant in free agency.

The Pacers have a new point guard in former Pike High School star Jeff Teague, a 2015 All-Star acquired from Atlanta via a three-team trade in July. League executives ranked the addition of Teague second in "most underrated player acquisition." Interestingly enough, the only move that received more votes than the Teague acquisition was Utah acquiring former Pacers guard George Hill, part of the same trade that sent Teague back home.

Indiana's trade for Thaddeus Young, a veteran power forward acquired from Brooklyn in exchange for the draft rights to Caris LeVert, also received at least one vote in the same category.

The Pacers' coaching staff also drew some praise in the survey, with Dan Burke receiving 6.9 percent of the vote for "best assistant coach in the NBA." Burke tied for third with San Antonio's James Borrego, behind only Golden State's Ron Adams (first at 37.9 percent) and Charlotte's Stephen Silas.