The Brooklyn Nets have been picked to win the NBA championship by their general manager, who also selected Kevin Durant as the MVP.
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ESPN’s Tim Bontemps
The Brooklyn Nets are the overwhelming favorites to win the NBA title this season, according to the league’s general managers, with star Kevin Durant a slight favorite to earn his second Most Valuable Player award.
The Nets earned 72 percent of the votes in NBA.com’s annual poll of all 30 general managers, placing them far ahead of the two other clubs to get any votes: the Los Angeles Lakers (17 percent) and the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks (17 percent) (10 percent ).
The Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers were followed by the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers, who finished first and second, respectively, in the Eastern Conference vote. In the West, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Portland Trail Blazers were the clear favorites.
Durant was selected as the top choice for MVP after a great comeback from a torn Achilles last season, which included an amazing performance against Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference playoffs. It would be his first since he won it with Oklahoma City in 2014.
Durant received 37% of the vote, while Mavericks star Luka Doncic received 33%. Other players that received votes were Giannis Antetokounmpo (13%), Joel Embiid (7%), James Harden (7%), and Stephen Curry (3%), with LeBron James getting none.
Doncic received 43 percent of the vote versus Antetokounmpo’s 40 percent in a poll to determine who would be the best player to establish a franchise with. Durant, James, Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson, and Nikola Jokic were among the other players that got votes.
Antetokounmpo was also voted best foreign player, beating out Doncic and Jokic.
Meanwhile, Curry, Harden, Durant, Antetokounmpo, and Jokic were all comfortably chosen as the top players at each of the five positions, receiving at least 57 percent of the vote in each case. The only difference from previous season is Durant’s victory against James for the title of best small forward in the NBA.
Miami was chosen as the club that had the greatest offseason, with Kyle Lowry’s acquisition garnering 77 percent of the vote as the best move of the summer. Only Russell Westbrook (17 percent) of the Lakers received several votes, with Spencer Dinwiddie of Washington and Jonas Valanciunas of New Orleans getting votes as well.
The trade of Russell Westbrook to the Lakers was considered the most unexpected, while the deal of Larry Nance Jr. to Portland was deemed the most undervalued. The Chicago Bulls were selected as the club projected to progress the most this season after signing DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in summer sign-and-trade agreements.
Rockets guard Jalen Green was given a small advantage over Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (47-40) for Rookie of the Year, while Cavaliers big Evan Mobley was a little selection ahead of Cunningham (33-30) for who will be the greatest player from this year’s draft class in five years.
Antetokounmpo was also voted the greatest defensive player in the NBA, beating out reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and the most versatile defensive player. The Bucks were a hair ahead of the Jazz (40-33) in terms of being the league’s top defensive club.
With 55 percent of the vote, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was voted the best head coach in the NBA, followed by Phoenix’s Monty Williams as the best motivator, Clippers coach Ty Lue as the best in-game adjustor, Jazz coach Quin Snyder as the best offensive coach, and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau as the best defensive coach.
The Hawks received half of the votes for the most promising young core, while James was chosen as the NBA’s most versatile player and the player with the greatest basketball IQ, and Durant was chosen as their top option to take a game-winning shot.