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NBA GMs pick Cavaliers to win title, LeBron James to win MVP

LeBron James

LeBron James

AP released its annual general manager survey, and here are the results from the headliner categories:

Which team will win the 2016 NBA Finals?
1. Cleveland -- 53.6%
2. San Antonio -- 25.0%
3. Golden State -- 17.9%
4. Oklahoma City -- 3.6%
Who will win the 2015-16 MVP?
1. LeBron James, Cleveland -- 39.3%
2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans -- 25.0%
3. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City -- 10.7%
James Harden, Houston -- 10.7%
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 7.1%
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 7.1%

A few more results I found interesting:

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2015-16?
1. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota -- 17.2%
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 13.8%
3. Bradley Beal, Washington -- 10.3%
Jabari Parker, Milwaukee -- 10.3%
5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans -- 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Harrison Barnes, Golden State; Mike Conley, Memphis;Andre Drummond, Detroit; Danilo Gallinari, Denver; Rudy Gobert, Utah; Tobias Harris, Orlando; Reggie Jackson, Detroit; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; C.J. McCollum, Portland; Shabazz Muhammed, Minnesota; Victor Oladipo, Orlando;Otto Porter, Washington; Marcus Smart, Boston

Wiggins just won Rookie of the Year after being the No. 1 pick. He can get a lot better, but he’s already somewhat established – meaning it will take a major leap for Wiggins to earn this title.

He very well could.

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft?
1. Justise Winslow (10), Miami -- 31.0%
2. Bobby Portis (22), Chicago -- 24.1%
3. Emmanuel Mudiay (7), Denver -- 20.7%
4. Myles Turner (11), Indiana -- 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Devin Booker (13), Phoenix; Stanley Johnson (8), Detroit; Kevon Looney (30), Golden State; Jahlil Okafor (3), Philadelphia;Norman Powell (46), Toronto

This is more evidence that Winslow’s surprising draft-night fall was due to a few teams not liking him as much as the consensus. It’d be fascinating to see an aggregation of all 30 teams’ draft boards. It’s easy to forget that just because a player went a few spots ahead of another doesn’t mean a majority of the league concurs.

I also agree all four of the top four went lower than they should have. I ranked each higher than they actually went. I’d also add R.J. Hunter (28) to the list.

What country is most likely to challenge the U.S. for an Olympic or World Cup gold medal in the next 10 years?
1. Spain -- 34.5%
2. Canada -- 32.8%
3. France -- 19.0%
4. Croatia -- 6.9%

Spain – with Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka or Nikola Mirotic – has been the biggest threat to Team USA in recent years. But with the Gasol brothers aging, can Spain upset the Americans before its over the hill?

That question makes Canada – a young, rapidly rising team – an intriguing answer. In a few years, a team led by Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray might be better than Spain ever was. Plus, Canada will have major depth, including Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk and Nik Stauskas.

A lot of this will depend on Wiggins’ ability to carry a team.

Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 93.1%
Which head coach is the best manager/motivator of people?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 48.3%
Which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 37.9%
Which head coach runs the best offense?
1. Steve Kerr, Golden State -- 58.6%
2. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 27.6%
Which head coach has the best defensive schemes?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 31.0%

It’s amazing how widely respected Gregg Popovich is in all realms of coaching. And he has earned it.

That’s part of the reason I picked Popovich as Mike Krzyzewski’s successor with Team USA.

Who is the league’s best role player?
1. Andre Iguodala, Golden State -- 20.7%
2. Draymond Green, Golden State -- 17.2%
3. Kyle Korver, Atlanta -- 13.8%
4. Danny Green, San Antonio -- 10.3%
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio -- 10.3%
6. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio -- 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Marco Belinelli, Sacramento; Jamal Crawford, L.A. Clippers; Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City; Isaiah Thomas, Boston; Lou Williams, L.A. Lakers

SO MANY Warriors and Spurs on this list. There’s a Hawk (run by a Popovich disciple, Mike Budenholzer) and former Spur (Belinelli).

San Antonio and Golden State – coached by another Pop disciple, Steve Kerr – are doing something right.

This is all very fascinating. Click through to read answers to the rest of the 49 questions posed to general managers.