NBA.com released its annual survey of league general managers on Tuesday, with 69 percent of them predicting the Golden State Warriors will take home the 2017 championship. The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers were the only other team to even garner a vote, with 31 percent of GMs choosing them to repeat. Last year, 53.6 percent of general managers picked the Cavs to win it all.
League GMs also seem to think that the crowded Warriors roster will also cost Stephen Curry his third consecutive MVP trophy. Nearly 47 percent predict that LeBron James will earn his fifth league MVP award on the heels of his first title in Cleveland. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook came in second with 23.3 percent of the vote, with Curry tied with Houston Rockets guard James Harden for third, at 10 percent.
When asked which player in the league they would most like to start a franchise with, Minnesota Timberwolves phenom Karl-Anthony Towns blew away the rest of the field with over 48 percent of the vote. Golden State’s Kevin Durant was a distant second at 20.7 percent with James coming in third. New Orleans’ Anthony Davis dominated this category last year, with over 86 percent of general managers saying they would prefer he to be their centerpiece.
Curry, Harden, James and Davis were ranked as the best players at their respective positions with Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan earning “best center” honors. Memphis’ Marc Gasol, who finished ranked fourth among centers, won this category with over 65 percent of the votes last year.
General managers predicted Minnesota’s Kris Dunn will win Rookie of the Year this season, while also tabbing San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich as the league’s best defender and coach, respectively.