ANALYSIS OF WEIRD STUFF IN BOLD
An overwhelming majority of NBA general managers picked the Heat to win the NBA Finals, according to a survey by John Schuhmann of NBA.com.
The survey included all 30 GMs, including new Heat general manager Andy Elisburg, and 75.9 percent of the executives selected the Heat to repeat as champions. Last season, only 70 percent of GMs picked the Heat. General managers were not allowed to vote for their own team.
In addition to picking the Heat to win its third championship in three seasons, the majority (69 percent) of GMs also picked LeBron James to win his third straight MVP Award.
The Heat featured prominently in the data, which offered excellent insight into trends of the NBA and also perception around the league. For example, while most GMs picked the Heat and James to sweep once again, no one selected the Heat in the miscellaneous category, “Which team is the most fun to watch?”
Voter fatigue probably played a factor in the “most fun” category, because while the Warriors at 41.4 percent of the vote will be the most fun team to watch this season for GMs, James held the supermajorities in three categories that might suggest excitement: most dangerous in the open floor, 73.3 percent; best finisher at the rim, 70 percent; and most athletic 56.7.
In a related survey 43.3 percent of GMs have never watched a basketball game.
Other instances where the Heat was mentioned in the survey:
—Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was tied with Tom Thibodeau for third best coach at 6.9 percent of the vote.
—Last year, 96.7 percent of GMs believed the Heat would win the East. This season, the percentage is down to 86.2. Those numbers are a bit odd because, overall, more GMs think the Heat will win it all this season (75.9) than compared to last season (70).
—All 29 GMs picked the Heat to win the Southeast Division. This is shocking only because it proves Danny Ainge (or someone from the Celtics) actually voted for the Heat on something.
—Asked the hypothetical question, “If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?” 89.7 percent of GMs picked James.
—Up from 50 percent of GMs last year, 66.7 percent of GMs going into this season believe James is the player that forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments.
—Dwyane Wade was 6th in voting for best shooting guard in the league with 3.3 percent. James Harden was voted the best shooting guard in the NBA by GMs. Harden carried 56.7 percent of the vote.
—James was voted the best small forward in the NBA (86.7 percent). Kevin Durant was second at 13.3 percent.
—Chris Bosh received votes for best power forward in the league. Tim Duncan was voted the best at the position (31 percent).
—James was second in voting for best defensive player in the NBA (27.6 percent). Dwight Howard topped the vote (34.5).
—James (33.3 percent) was voted the second best perimeter defender in the NBA behind Tony Allen (36.7)
—Ten percent of GMs voted the Heat the best defensive team in the league.
—Spoelstra (6.9 percent) was third behind Gregg Popovich (51.7) and Doc Rivers (31) as the best “manager/motivator of people.”
—Spoelstra also received votes for best coach at making in-game adjustments and also best defensive scheme.
—Shockingly, considering Miami’s reputation, 10 percent of GMs voted the Heat the team with the best home-court advantage. Chances are this has more to do with visiting players partying on South Beach the night before games than anything else.
—Ray Allen (24.1 percent) was voted the second best “pure shooter” in the league behind Steph Curry (44.8).
—Allen (36.7 percent) was voted the best player in the league “at moving without the ball.”
—Ten percent of GMs voted James as the “best at getting his own shot.” Durant (33.3 percent) received the most votes, followed by Kobe (26.7) and Carmelo Anthony (16.7).
—Surprisingly enough, no one voted for LeBron in the category of player with the “best basketball IQ.” This seems a little counterintuitive because he received the majority of votes in so many categories.