The annual NBA GM survey is out — an anonymous questionnaire where team GMs offer a peak at how they’re really feeling about the competition and players throughout the league — and there are some interesting bits and bobs with regards to Dallas and its players.
GMs took notice of Luka’s exciting rookie year, and to that end, voted him in to a tie for second for the player they would like to start a franchise with, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo (who garnered an enormous 86%) and tied with Anthony Davis. Luka and AD both received 7% of the vote, which… yes is a distant second. But that’s still a lot of shine for a 20-year-old sophomore.
Coincidentally, Luka also earned himself 7% of the vote when GMs were asked about who the best international player was; good for third place in that category behind, again, Giannis with 79% and dark horse MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, who got 14% of the vote.
Not so under the radar
With all the high-level players who found a new team during this most recent off season, GMs could maybe have been forgiven for forgetting that a 24-year-old unicorn was going to be joining the team down in Dallas. But, boy, nothing gets past these GM guys. Almost like paying attention to basketball is their job or something. The Mavericks placed second with a respectable 21% when the question was which team will be most improved. They came in behind only the Lakers, who got 38%, but, somewhat remarkably, ahead of the Clippers, who added two top-5 players this offseason, which was still somehow only enough for 10%.
The Mavericks precipitous slide to the cellar of the NBA during these past few pre-Luka seasons seemed to remove some of the shine from Coach Rick Carlise among some fans and pundits. After 2011, Rick appeared to be cemented in the coveted “best coach in the league after Pop, of course!” title.
However, with the lack of team success, other coaches like the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra, the Warriors Steve Kerr, and the Celtics Brad Stevens were all starting to bob to the top in various “best coaches in the league, of course, not counting Pop, who is number one everyone knows that” lists. Case in point, Rick didn’t even make this year honorable mentions in the “best coach” question. (Then again, neither did last year’s winner, Brad Stevens, which goes to show how fickle opinion on non-Pop NBA coaches is around the league.)
However, GMs didn’t completely forget about Rick the Wizard, and voted him number one as the coach who makes the best in-game adjustments. He got 28%.
Dallas also got an honorable mention in the “best young core” category, likely buoyed by having two under-25 all-stars leading the team, but put some respect on the other young Mavericks. Jalen Brunson, a second round pick entering just his second NBA season, picked up some votes from GMs when they responded about which active player would make the best head coach someday.
The leading vote-getters were payers like Mike Conley (26%) and Chris Paul (19%), so to see someone as young and largely unheralded as Jalen Brunson making an appearance here shows how much respect he earned with his impressive play last season.
Keep the chip on your shoulder
Those were some fun results, but it shouldn’t go unsaid that, when it comes to who GMs think will make the playoffs in the West, The Mavericks are on the outside looking in. Dallas has been making converts among some league-watchers and talking heads, but when it comes to GMs, no dice.
To dig in to the rest of the numbers, you can browse the rest of the results on NBA.com.