After a wild offseason, it’s hard to believe that we’re just seven days away from opening day. With all the movement in the NBA, one would think that a new contender might be in prime position to dethrone the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Nope. In a survey completed by all 30 NBA general managers, the Miami Heat’s chances of repeating have gone up from last year, increasing from 70 to a 75% of becoming back-to-back-to-back winners. Other teams receiving votes to win the NBA Finals included Indiana, Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the L.A. Clippers. The Brooklyn Nets? Nowhere to be found.
The Nets, however, were runaway winners for the Atlantic Division, posting 75.9% of the vote — with the crosstown rival Knicks coming in with the remaining 24.1%.
Here’s where else the Nets earned votes:
Despite acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Nets came in second for best offseason moves, finishing well behind (55.2% to 24.1%) the Houston Rocket team that brought in the NBA’s best center, Dwight Howard.
In a three-way tie at 10%, Andrei Kirilenko took home the prize for most underrated player acquisition with New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday and Indiana’s Luis Scola.
Detroit beat out Brooklyn for most improved team, as the Nets dropped from last year’s runaway first-place score of 62.1% to just 13.3%. Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota, New Orleans and Washington all shared second place behind the Pistons, who led with 16.7%.
The Nets dominated the most surprising move of the offseason category as the Pierce-KG trade tied for first place with Andre Iguodala’s move to Golden State with 21.4% of the vote; while Andrei Kirilenko’s signing received second place honors with 14.3%.
Mirza Teletovic ranked third for International players most likely to have a break-out 2013-2014 season at 7.1%, only being beaten out by Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas (39.3%) and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio (17.9%) – which is pretty good company to keep.
Lawrence Frank won the vote for the NBA’s best assistant coach at 24.1%; which is hardly a surprise given his former successes and high probability of receiving a head-coaching gig elsewhere in the NBA if he had wanted it.
Brooklyn received a fourth-place mention for the NBA’s most exciting team to watch, sharing with San Antonio at 6.9%. Golden State won the vote with an astounding 41.4%. Notably, Miami did not receive a vote in this category.
Reggie Evans finished in fourth place for the league’s best offensive rebounder at 10.3%, falling to Kevin Love, Zach Randolph and Kenneth Faried, but beating out Dwight Howard.
In the toughest player category, Kevin Garnett clocked in at 6.9%, good for a third place tie with Nick Collison and Faried. Kobe Bryant won the category again at 31%. Kevin Garnett also took home second in the best leader category at 23.3%, only falling to Tim Duncan.
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez — last year’s Nets “Big 3” — did not register a single vote in any category.
Kevin Garnett received votes for:
NBA’s best power forward
Acquired player who will make the biggest impact
Paul Pierce received votes for:
Most underrated player acquisition
Jason Terry received votes for:
Active player that will make the best coach
Reggie Evans received votes for:
Andrei Kirilenko received votes for:
Bojan Bogdanovic received votes for:
Best player not currently in the NBA