I think we can all agree that the Miami Heat are going to be a pretty great team. Maybe even historically great. They’ve got two of the best players in the league, a perfect third banana in Chris Bosh and a supporting cast that fills a lot of roles. Put all those things together and it’s obvious that the Heat will at least challenge for an NBA title this year.
However, if you listen to the NBA’s GMs, they’ll tell you that most of them aren’t betting on Miami this season. NBA.com ran a few polls of these decision makers and found some not-so-shocking results.
Which team will win the 2011 NBA Finals?
Los Angeles Lakers — 63%
Miami Heat — 33.3%
Boston Celtics — 3.7%
Surprising? Not surprising? I’d vote the latter. The Lakers, as you may have heard, are two-time defending NBA champions. This summer, they replaced Jordan Farmar, Adam Morrison and Josh Powell with Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. They’re going to be very, very good. Three-peat good, possibly. The only thing that really surprises me about this poll is that the Orlando Magic didn’t get a single vote. That’s a team that made the Finals two seasons ago and is pretty stacked. You’d think someone would make that choice. Nonetheless, Lakers as NBA champions is a pretty safe decision. Good work on that front, GMs.
They also weighed in on the MVP race.
Who will win the 2010-11 MVP?
Kevin Durant — 66.7%
Kobe Bryant — 25.9%
Also receiving votes: Dwight Howard, LeBron James
Yep, standard operating procedure, it seems. With LeBron James becoming a fraction less important by linking up with some other big-time ballers, the ball is in Kevin Durant’s court this season. He finished second in MVP voting last year, so bumping him up a spot makes sense. 2-for-2 thus far.
The last category we’ll look at should be a big one for GMs, considering it’s kind of the basis for their jobs. You’ll see what I mean.
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
Kevin Durant — 55.6%
LeBron James — 25.9%
Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard — 7.4%
Dwyane Wade — 3.7%
Really, GMs? You can’t be serious. I know everyone loves Kevin Durant — myself included, because he is very great — but LeBron James is 25 years old, has a body that can only be harmed at the right elbow and is a two-time MVP. He is far and away the NBA’s most complete player, and he’s only 25. That is very young. He might be arrogant, selfish and very good at finding t-shirts that say how great he is, but he is also an unfathomably dominant basketball player which is what actually matters when it comes to building a team. Then again, 7.4 percent of you guys would choose to build an NBA team around a 32-year-old shooting guard who has started a slow, but steady, decline over the past few years. C’mon, guys.
Of course, it’s highly likely that not one GM actually filled out this survey, instead handing it to an assistant to fill out. Nonetheless, pretty solid choices even if they kind of screwed up that last question.