I love the annual preseason NBA GM Survey.
It's hilarious and, frankly, reveals both how difficult it is to judge talent and how poorly GMs judge talent. Plus it gives us all something to complain about!
There are very interesting things to take away from it, including the respect players get from the bigwigs who make many of the decisions that structure the sport we so love.
For instance, we can compare this year's survey to last year'sand see that LeBron James' monstrous season and postseason proved himself a leap beyond his peers to those who judge basketball talent for their living. Kevin Durant was their MVP favorite over James, 55.6 percent to 44.4 percent. Now they have swung completely in favor of James, who now garners 66.7 percent of the votes to Durant's 30 percent and, laughably, some poor soul who thinks Carmelo Anthony will best both of them. James also ran away with the votes in many other categories, as he should.
One of the main things I have a qualm about is the question "Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?" It seems that this is assumed to be "Which player makes the most of not having stupendous rim-shattering dunking skillzzzzzzzzzzz?" The notion that players including Kevin Love, Shane Battier, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, Steve Nash have limited natural ability is silly for what it implies. They each have incredible natural ability, whether that's great hand-eye coordination, touch, ability to use body positioning to get rebounds over taller men with longer arms, or intelligence on the court. I hate that question.
The other thing of interest to me here is the absence of the Bobcats compared to last year. In the previous survey, Charlotte had Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo placing well in a few categories. Walker tied for third in Rookie of the Year and Rookie most likely to be a sleeper success, and was an honorable mention for Best player in five years. Biyombo was ranked sixth for Most athletic rookie. Stephen Silas also was an honorable mention for Best assistant coach.
This year? The only Bobcats appearance was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who ranked second in Most athletic rookie.
As I mentioned before, people shouldn't put much weight into these types of surveys. Many of these questions don't favor Kidd-Gilchrist's talents much. Rookie of the Year is typically given based on statistics, much like any award. Points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game and wins are what really matter in voting for awards. Simplistic, sure, but these awards are not exactly a pure meritocracy.
The GMs probably undervalue Kidd-Gilchrist a bit, but history has shown their preseason surveys are often error-prone. When I think about it, his contributions won't be flashy enough to garner magazine covers or mainstream love, but he could very possibly be one of the more solid players from this class.
Also Chris Paul totally should have won toughest player.