The NBA just released the results of its annual GM survey, in which the league’s 30 top front-office executives make predictions about the season to come. And two of them think that Paul George is the NBA player who will have a “breakout season” in 2012-13. Only second-year Warrior Klay Thompson (four votes), reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving (three votes) and almost-Pacer Kawhi Leonard (three votes) ranked ahead of George. (James Harden tied PG with two votes, although, like Irving, that is sort of silly considering he is already one of the better players in the NBA.)
The GMs also overwhelmingly believe that the Pacers will win the Central Division, with twenty-four executives picking them to finish first while the other six chose the Bulls. Once the playoffs start, however, the GMs don’t like Indiana’s chances: twenty-nine believe Miami will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals with the lone disserter picking the Celtics.
When it comes to head coaches, nobody voted for Frank Vogel in any category. That isn’t necessarily a sleight; when guys like Gregg Popovich (who 80% of GMs think is the league’s best coach) and Tim Thibodeau (who 70% say runs the best defensive schemes) are so great, it’s easy for mere good coaches to be overlooked. But in Brian Shaw, Indiana does have the league’s best assistant coach, however, according to to seven GMs. Only Mike Budenholzer of the Spurs received even half that number of votes.
Lastly, one GM thinks David West is the toughest player in the NBA.
To my knowledge, Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders, who won’t play in tonight’s Bucks’ preseason game for “a team conduct issue,” is not an NBA GM. But based on the “hold me back, please” video evidence below, he may share one’s opinion of Mr. West.