Every year, the NBA sends out a survey to the general managers (GMs) of all 30 franchises to hear their expectations for the upcoming season, their predictions of the best players and more. These predictions are by no means guarantees of what we will see one week from now, when the shoes are laced up and the best in the world take the court. They are a rather unique metric that allows fans to gauge the lay of the land from some of basketball’s top minds.
We see an overwhelming number of GMs predicting the Cavaliers to take the title, with 53.6 percent of the votes. The results show that the Golden State Warriors have a measly 17.9 percent chance of pulling off a repeat championship win—the lowest percentage a defending champion has received since the GM survey was created 13 years ago.
This is a good opportunity to address a portion of the hate the Warriors have been receiving this offseason. After winning the Finals, any team can expect a certain level of complaining from the competition, but this offseason has been an extreme case.
Not only are Cavs fans continuing to preach their gospel of “we would have easily won if the Cavs were healthy,” but fans across the league are attributing the Warriors’ success primarily to luck.
The Warriors managed to avoid the Clippers and Spurs in their road to the Finals. In the eyes of many delusional and jealous fans, this somehow makes the team’s trip through the teams of LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol a cakewalk.
Interestingly enough, each of these players was voted the best player at his respective position in this year’s GM survey, with Steph Curry rounding out the final remaining spot of point guard.
Their playoff run was not the waltz to the Finals it is being made out to be, and people are quick to forget the monstrous overall season the Warriors had.
Last year’s Warriors were first in the NBA in points, average score margin, fast break points, assists, field goal percentage and opponent field goal percentage, as well as second in the NBA in blocks and assist-to-turnover ratio. These are just a handful of the array of accolades Golden State picked up on their way to 67 wins and a first overall finish.
While the GMs are quick to move on from the unrivaled dominance the Warriors displayed, they do not forget some of the details which got them them there.
In the survey, the Warriors were ranked the best defensive team in the league, and head coach Steve Kerr was ranked as the coach that runs the best offense—both with 58.6 percent of the vote. After picking up the top slots for “Most Fun to Watch” and “Best Home Court Advantage,” the Dubs are poised to pick up right where they left off last season.
So, while the haters continue their parade of excuses, we can only look to “what is” rather than “what if.” After Kyrie Irving said the Cavs would’ve easily won if they were healthy, Warriors forward Draymond Green responded by explaining, “If I was 6-foot-11, I’d be Anthony Davis.”
The Warriors can do nothing now but laugh it off and prove them all wrong.
Eber is a member of the class of 2017.