If you’re seeking to break outside the local bubble and understand the league’s view of your team, the NBA.com GM survey is a helpful tool.
John Schuhmann had the league’s general managers respond to 50 different questions about coaches, players, teams and more. GMs were, of course, prohibited from selecting their own team or members of their organization.
Below are a few interesting Sixers-related takeaways.
What a difference a year makes
On opening night last season, the Sixers started Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. In the eyes of NBA GMs, replacing Fultz, Covington and Saric with Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Al Horford is a substantial upgrade.
After being picked by zero GMs to win the Eastern Conference last year, 24 percent of respondents this season think the Sixers will be conference champions, with 76 percent taking the Bucks.
Embiid is … flying under the radar?
Embiid’s talents are widely recognized across the league, without a doubt. He finished second in the voting for best center in the NBA, behind Nikola Jokic and ahead of Anthony Davis.
That said, there were a couple of categories in which Embiid was perhaps overlooked. Embiid was not one of the six players to receive votes as best defensive player in the league, or one of the eight picked as MVP.
More puzzlingly, no GM selected him as the league’s best international player. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the clear, uncontroversial winner with 86 percent of the vote. It’s a bit odd, though, that reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic got 7 percent while the Cameroonian Embiid, an All-Star starter the past two seasons, got none. Simmons, a native of Australia, was also passed over again.
The Sixers aren’t so ‘young’ anymore
The Sixers aged dramatically over the past year, at least judging by these survey results.
They dropped from receiving 47 percent of votes for most promising young core to 7 percent this season, behind the Pelicans, Nuggets, Hawks and Kings. While Embiid and Simmons are indeed merely a year older, Richardson is 26 years old and Harris 27, the perception appears to be that the Sixers are no longer a youthful team on the verge of title contention — they’ve hit the next stage, or so it seems.
No lone star
Embiid was the Sixers player who got the most individual attention. Simmons and Harris received no votes of any sort, while Richardson showed up in the “also receiving votes” category for the question of the most underrated player acquisition this offseason. Horford received votes for the most surprising offseason acquisition and best basketball IQ.
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