NBA

NBA GM Survey: Brooklyn Nets overwhelmingly favored to take Championship

The results of the 20th annual NBA.com GM Survey have been published ahead of the 2021-22 season, with the Nets hotly favored to scoop the NBA title.

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NBA GM Survey: Brooklyn Nets overwhelmingly favored to take Championship

An overwhelming majority of NBA GMs expect the Brooklyn Nets to win the 2021-22 Championship. That’s according to the 20th annual NBA.com GM Survey, in which 72% of decision makers backed the Nets to go all the way this year, with only 10% predicting that the Milwaukee Bucks will retain their title.

Last year, 81% of respondents said the L.A. Lakers would be crowned 2020-21 Champions. This year that number has dropped to 17%. Though 80% expect the Lakers to win the Western Conference, while 83% believe the Nets will claim the Eastern Conference.

Durant tipped for MVP award

With 37% of the votes, Nets star Kevin Durant is the most favored to win the 2021-22 MVP award, ahead of Luka Doncic at 33%. The 22-year-old Slovenian came in as the top player that decision makers would sign if they were starting a franchise today, taking 43% of the vote, while 40% of respondents would make Bucks NBA finals hero Giannis Antetokounmpo their first signing.

Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball during a time out in the first half of a pre season game against Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Junior was chosen by 17% of respondents as the player most likely to have a breakout season this year, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards (13%) and Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets (10%).

The Miami Heat were deemed to have been the most prudent in the offseason, with 47% of GMs agreeing that the Florida-based franchise made the best overall offseason moves, well ahead of the Lakers on 17%. An overwhelming 77% chose Miami’s Kyle Lowry as the one player acquisition who will make the biggest impact this season; L.A. Lakers signing Russel Westbrook came in second with 17% of the votes. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was selected as the best coach in the NBA, taking 55% of the vote, ahead of Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns (17%).

LeBron still seen as smartest and most versatile

LeBron James may not be seen as an MVP contender any more but the 36-year-old is the GM’s top pick when it comes to the NBA’s most versatile player and the player with the best basketball IQ.

Almost half (47%) of GMs believe Houston Rockets 19-year-old shooting guard Jalen Green will scoop rookie of the year award, while 40% see Cade Cunnigham (Detroit Pistons) earning that accolade this season. A third of respondents (33%) expect Evan Mobley (Cavaliers) to be the best among the current crop of rookies in five years’ time, followed by Cunningham (30%) and Green (23%).

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles during Los Angeles Lakers media day at UCLA Health Training Center on September 28, 2021 in El Segundo, California.

The GMs were asked to respond to 48 different questions covering the best teams, players, coaches and offseason moves. They were not allowed to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the answers of a pool of respondents to each question, rather than all 30 GMs. Below are a select number of questions and answers from the NBA.com GM Survey.

NBA GM Survey results

Which team will win the 2022 NBA Finals?

1. Brooklyn Nets — 72%

2. Los Angeles Lakers – 17%

3. Milwaukee Bucks – 10%

Who will win the 2021-22 Kia MVP?

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 37%

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 33%

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 13%

4. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 7%

James Harden, Brooklyn – 7%

6. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 3%

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?

1. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 43%

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 40%

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2021-22?

1. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis – 17%

2. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota – 13%

3. Michael Porter Jr., Denver – 10%

4. Darius Garland, Cleveland – 7%

Keldon Johnson, San Antonio – 7%

Ja Morant, Memphis – 7%

Kevin Porter Jr., Houston – 7%

Who is the best point guard in the NBA?

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State – 57%

2. Damian Lillard, Portland – 17%

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 13%

4. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 7%

Chris Paul, Phoenix – 7%

Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?

1. James Harden, Brooklyn – 63%

2. Devin Booker, Phoenix – 17%

3. Luka Doncic, Dallas – 10%

Who is the best small forward in the NBA?

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 67%

2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 17%

3. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers – 7%

Who is the best power forward in the NBA?

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 63%

2. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers – 27%

3. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn – 10%

Who is the best center in the NBA?

1. Nikola Jokic, Denver – 63%

2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia – 23%

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee – 7%

Which team made the best overall moves this offseason?

1. Miami Heat – 47%

2. Los Angeles Lakers – 17%

3. Brooklyn Nets – 7%

Houston Rockets – 7%

Washington Wizards – 7%

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?

1. Kyle Lowry, Miami – 77%

2. Russell Westbrook, L.A. Lakers – 17%

What was the most underrated player acquisition?

1. Larry Nance Jr., Portland – 28%

2. Patty Mills, Brooklyn – 17%

3. Spencer Dinwiddie, Washington – 14%

4. Lonzo Ball, Chicago – 10%

5. Kemba Walker, New York – 7%

Which team will be most improved in 2021-22?

1. Chicago Bulls – 27%

2. Golden State Warriors – 13%

Los Angeles Lakers – 13%

3. Charlotte Hornets – 10%

4. New Orleans Pelicans – 7%

Toronto Raptors – 7%

What was the most surprising move of the offseason?

1. Russell Westbrook to the Lakers – 50%

2. DeMar DeRozan to Chicago – 22%

3. Lonzo Ball to Chicago – 5%

Who will win the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year?

1. Jalen Green, Houston – 47%

2. Cade Cunningham, Detroit – 40%

3. Jalen Suggs, Orlando – 7%

Which rookie will be the best player in five years?

1. Evan Mobley, Cleveland – 33%

2. Cade Cunningham, Detroit – 30%

3. Jalen Green, Houston – 23%

4. Jalen Suggs, Orlando – 10%

5. Davion Mitchell, Sacramento – 3%

Who is the best head coach in the NBA?

1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami – 55%

2. Monty Williams, Phoenix – 17%

3. Quin Snyder, Utah – 14%

4. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – 10%

5. Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee – 3%