It should come as no suprise that general managers in the National Basketball Association continued to recognize the impact of LeBron James in this year’s preseason poll.
The undisputed king of the NBA swayed many of the responses in Cleveland’s favor despite the fact that it is a team with many new players that will need time adjusting to one another.
It is difficult to forget that James has lead his team to four straight NBA Finals appearances and now holds two championships under his belt.
General managers believe that James will once again face the San Antonio Spurs in the finals. Cleveland is the overwhelming favorite among GMs to win the Eastern Conference finals with 70.4 percent of voters supporting the Cavs. San Antonio recieved 55.6 percent of the vote to represent the Western Conference in the finals.
James is favored to take the MVP back from Kevin Durant according to GMs; 67.9 percent voted for the King in this category. Given Durant’s recent surgery to repair a Jones Fracture in his foot, there is no question that the opportunity is there for James.
There are indicators, however, that James may not retake the award. James may in fact seek to rest more now that he has the support of All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to support him. In his Miami Heat exit interview following their loss in the 2014 NBA Finals James expressed discomfort with the fact that teammate Dwyane Wade received ample rest during the season while he was effectively ran into the ground.
My favorite for MVP this year is Clippers star Blake Griffin. With Durant out for at least the first month and a half of the season, and James looking to preserve himself for the playoffs, there is an opportunity for another player to step up.
Griffin finished third in MVP voting last year and has demonstrated a much-improved midrange and outside shooting game this preseason. In the case that his superstar teammate Chris Paul declines this year, it will be clearer than ever who is the best player on the Clippers. If they finish at the top of the Western Conference it will be due to the step Griffin took this year.
When asked who they would sign if they were starting a franchise from scratch GMs again chose James, with 50 percent of the vote. James receieved 89.7 percent of the vote last year.
I’m happy to see that Anthony Davis tied with Durant with 25 percent of the vote to come in second in this category. While elite play on the wing is rare, interior players like Davis are even more valuable.
With this summer’s team USA experience under his belt Davis was able to learn first-hand what it takes to become an NBA superstar. At just 21 years of age he will be a centerpiece for years to come. GMs accross the league are obviously jealous of the talent the Pelicans have in Davis.