The results from the annual survey of 30 NBA general managers are in, and while they picked the Wizards to be a playoff team under first-year coach Scott Brooks they didn't list John Wall among the top four point guards or give votes to any other players on the roster in any category.
The Wizards tied for seventh place in the survey with the Charlotte Hornets. Exactly 3.3% picked them to finish as high as third place despite having a roster that has been retooled after a 41-41 season.
Despite all of the changes made by the Chicago Bulls in acquiring Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, they're picked to finish out of the top eight playoff spots in ninth place. Predictably, the Cleveland Cavaliers are No.1, followed by the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The team that made the postseason last year but is out based on the GMs? The Miami Heat. That makes sense as they've lost Wade and Chris Bosh.
In the West, 96.7% picked the Golden State Warriors to finish first -- compared to 51.7% picking them in 2015-16 -- followed by the San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
Wall, the Wizards' three-time All-Star, didn't finish in the top four choices for best at his position, with 63.3% for Steph Curry (Warriors), 20% had Chris Paul (Clippers), 10% for Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and 6.7% went with Kyrie Irving (Cavs). And Wall (40%) came in second to Westbrook (46.7%) for player fastest with the ball.
Though Wall has been among the top distributors in the league, and that includes "hockey" assists, the last few years he didn't even register in the voting for best passer. Paul, James and Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves), Rondo and even Ben Simmons, a rookie who has yet to play an NBA game, received all of those votes.
GMs weren't allowed to vote for their teams or personnel. A sample of the results:
- 96.7% said that the Cavs and Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals for the third year in a row.
- 83.3% tabbed the Warriors has having "best overall offseason moves" largely because of Kevin Durant. And 80% determined that Durant is the one-player acquisition that will make the biggest impact. The next closest was 13.3% for Al Horford (Celtics), who came close to signing with the Wizards.
- 83.3% still call Gregg Popovich (Spurs) the best head coach, and the often-overlooked-but-worthy Rick Carlisle (Mavs) is next at 13.3% followed by Brad Stevens (Celtics) with 3.3%.
- 76.8% called LeBron James the best small forward for the 11th year in a row while 63.3% deemed Steph Curry (Warriors) as the best point guard, 56.7% had James Harden (Rockets) as best shooting guard, 29% had Anthony Davis (Pelicans) as the best power forward and 33.3% went with DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) as the best center.
- 75% said the opposing player who forces coaches to make the most adjustments is James while two-time MVP Curry was at just 21.4%
- 70% chose Ben Simmons (Sixers) as the rookie who will be the best player in five years.
- 69% picked the Warriors to win the NBA title for the second time in three years
- 66.7% identified Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) as the league's best defender
- 63.3% name coach Steve Kerr (Warriors) for running the best offense, followed by 16.7% for Popovich and 6.7% for Carlisle and Mike D'Antoni (Rockets).
- 60% say Tom Thibodeau (Timberwolves) runs the best defensive schemes and also 78.3% believe he will make the biggest impact of new/relocated coaches.
- 56.7% said the Timberwolves are the most improved team, followed by 23.3% for the Jazz and 10% for the N.Y. Knicks.
- 50% believe the Spurs are the best defensive team in the league, followed by 13.3% for the Celtics and 10% each for the Cavs, Warriors and Jazz.
- 48.3% chose Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) as the NBA player they'd sign today if they were starting a franchise while 20.7% opted for Durant and 17.2% for James. A year ago, the injury-prone Davis was the runaway choice at 86.2%.
- 46.7% said James, who has won the league MVP four times, would win it for the regular season this year, followed by 23.3% for Westbrook, 10% each for Curry and Harden and 6.7% for Durant. Despite getting older, James garnered more votes than he did a year ago from the GMs (39.3%).
- 46.7% predict that Kris Dunn (Timberwolves) will be Rookie of the Year.
- 46.7% rolled with Jamal Crawford (Clippers) as the bench player who makes the biggest impact when he enters the game.
- 41.4% said Carlisle is the head coach who makes the best in-game adjustments, with 31% siding with Popovich and 13.8% for Stevens.
- 31% believe that Devin Booker (Suns) is most likely to have a breakout season.
- 27.6% called Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) the best international player in the league, followed by 24.1% for last year's first-place selection, Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), and 22.4% for Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs).
- 27.6% went with Chris Paul (Clippers) as active player who will make the best head coach, with 10.3% going with Ronnie Price (Thunder) and former Wizards forward Jared Dudley (Suns).
- 24.1% felt that George Hill (Jazz) is the most underrated player acquisition of the offseason.
- 23.3% went with Dejounte Murray (Spurs) as the rookie who was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft (29th), 16.7% chose No. 5 pick Dunn and 13.3% settled on 38th pick Patrick McCaw (Warriors).
- 23.3% selected Tony Allen (Grizzlies) as the toughest player, followed by 16.7% for Leonard and 13.3% for Westbrook.