The annual NBA General Manager survey is out and the Mavericks received some interesting results in what’s become a fascinating look into how teams and players are perceived by the most important decision makers on NBA teams.
According to the survey, GMs think the Mavericks will finish sixth out West in the 2022-23 NBA season. The Clippers, Warriors, Suns, Nuggets, and Memphis are listed above Dallas. Given how the voting seems to work, with GMs listing their top four teams in a conference, only a small number of them believe Dallas has a chance of finishing high up in the West. Though the Mavericks did take a hit in the off-season, that so many general managers have Memphis listed above them is a bit confusing. Memphis lost some depth and is without their second best player for an unknown amount of time.
The survey also has Luka Doncic as the MVP favorite with 48% of responders having him as their pick. Giannis Antetokounmpo comes in second in the poll, with Joel Embiid as third. This is puzzling, to me at least, because if general managers don’t think Dallas is a top four team in the West, I do not see how he would win Most Valuable Player. Though we’ve seen a recent run of MVPs coming from teams that are further down in the standings, I think the narrative shifts firmly back this season to the award needing to go to a player on a top team in the NBA.
Doncic also joins Antetokounmpo as the only two players general managers responded with to the question “If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?” Doncic received 45% of votes, to Antetokounmpo’s 55%. Last year, Doncic led all voting, but there was also more variety in players mentioned.
Luka placed fifth in voting to the question of “Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?” Steph Curry led the voting easily, which makes sense given how thoroughly he can dismantle a team’s game plan.
Lastly, it’s clear NBA GMs have no idea what position Luka Doncic actually plays. He received votes as the best point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. It’s partially why he’s such a bear to game plan against, with his ability to do most anything needed on the basketball court.
The survey has strange Dallas-related results, to say the least and it’s worth reading the whole thing. A safe takeaway is that the league’s decision makers simply do not know what to make of the Mavericks. They made the Western Conference Finals somewhat ahead of schedule, but then lost a key piece without being able to gain any assets in return. If Dallas manages to stay in the morass of the Western Conference playoff race, they’ll do so on the strength of their star in Luka Doncic.