A clear majority of NBA general managers expect the Heat will win a third consecutive championship and LeBron James will capture a third consecutive MVP award. Those were among the highlights emerging from NBA.com’s 12th annual survey of all 30 general managers, who were granted anonymity.
Asked which team will win the Finals, 75.9 percent of the GMs named the Heat, followed by Indiana and San Antonio, who each received 6.9 percent.
Chicago, the Clippers and Oklahoma City also received votes. Last season, 70 percent of the GMs predicted Miami would win the title.
Asked which player will win the MVP award this season, 69 percent of GMs named James, followed by Kevin Durant at 24.1. Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul also received votes.
And James received an even stronger endorsement when GMs were asked what player they would sign if starting a franchise today. James received 89.7 percent of the votes (up from 80 last year). Durant (6.9 percent) and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving (3.4 percent) were the only others who received votes.
James won or received votes in other assorted categories. Among them:
And when asked which player they want taking the shot with the game on the line, only 7.1 percent named James — which was tied with Anthony for third behind Durant (39.3) and Bryant (32.1). Ray Allen also got a vote.
Results of other categories involving the Heat:
Spoelstra finished a distant third behind Popovich and Rivers in the category of which coach is the best manager/motivator of people. Spoelstra got a single vote in the categories of best in-game adjustments (won by Popovich) and best defensive schemes (Thibodeau), and was tied with the Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni for fourth in the best offense category (behind Popovich, Minnesota’s Rick Adelman and Houston’s Kevin McHale).