Each year for the past several years NBA.com surveyed league general managers on a variety of topics ahead of the upcoming campaign. The 2015-16 version was released Tuesday and included a few Washington Wizards mentions -- and at least one notable omission.
The GMs responded to 49 different questions about the best teams, players, coaches, fans and offseason moves. They were also not allowed to vote for their own players/teams.
Starting with the big picture, the defending NBA Champions are not favorites for the 2016 title according to this group.
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%
Last year: San Antonio -- 46.2%
As for the Eastern Conference standings...
And the survey says... pic.twitter.com/YwVtNkrJqu
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) October 21, 2015
The Wizards finished fifth in each of the last two seasons so predicting a hat trick isn't a stretch. Essentially all the teams outside of the LeBron James-led Cavaliers have notable questions entering the season. That includes the Bulls, who switched from a defensive-minded head coach to the offensive creativity of Fred Hoiberg. For the Wizards, that means moving on from Paul Pierce and adjusting to more small ball lineups. Looks like a five-team race for the two-seed with the Hawks, Heat and Raptors also in the mix.
Bradley Beal, a logical candidate for the NBA's Most Improved Player award, finished third on the list of players most likely to have a breakout season, behind only Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins and Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo. Otto Porter received one vote.
In perhaps the least surprising vote result of all, John Wall selected as fastest with the ball. The point guard garnered 53.4 percent of the votes with only Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (32.8) remotely visible in his rearview mirror. The pair tied for first last year. Non-roster player Ish Smith was one of four players also receiving votes.
Now, here comes the aforementioned omission.
Who is the best point guard in the NBA?
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 55.2%
2. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers -- 24.1%
3. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 17.2%
4. Mike Conley, Memphis -- 3.4%
Last year: Chris Paul -- 71.4%
Not listed of course, Wall. Those first three names are among the elite players in the league regardless of position, while Conley is often criminally underrated (though apparently not by at least one GM). It's no real knock that Wall didn't receive a single vote. Neither did Kyrie Irving.
Another potential slight.
Which player is the best passer?
1. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers -- 71.4%
2. LeBron James, Cleveland -- 10.7%
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 7.1%
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento -- 7.1%
5. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota -- 3.6%
Last year: Chris Paul -- 64.3%
Again, no Wall, who finished second in the NBA with 10.0 assists last season. Number of assists doesn't automatically mean great passer, but there is some correlation and certainly in this case.
Anyway, always an interesting read. History suggests Wall will notice.