The annual NBA GM survey was released on NBA.com today and as per usual, it’s kind of confusing in places and complimentary in others.
The Wolves were mentioned quite a bit throughout the survey of the 30 GMs around the league, and you know it was outside forces voting nice things about the Wolves because you’re not allowed to vote for your own team or personnel. Some of the nice things said about the Wolves:
- Wolves received 3.3% of the vote to win the Northwest division. Now, I don’t want to be a negative Don Nelson, but this is still the same division as the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets. Not to mention, the Wolves still have to deal with a very good team like Utah. The fact that they’d be picked to win the division over all three of these teams, and even Portland to a much lesser extent, seems very confusing to me. OKC was the overwhelming favorite to win at 86.7% and Denver got 10.0% of the vote. OKC received 71.4% of the vote last season.
- Kevin Love was the top vote-getter for best power forward in the NBA. He received 30.0% of the vote with last year’s winner, Dirk Nowitzki, getting second place and 23.3%. LeBron James (16.7%), LaMarcus Aldridge (10.0%), Kevin Garnett (6.7%), and Blake Griffin (6.7%) rounded out the PF voting. Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol also received votes.
- Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko tied with 6.7% of the vote and joined Ryan Anderson and Lou Williams as the most underrated acquisition of the offseason. Alexey Shved also received a vote for this. There was one more intriguing vote for the category Andre Iguodala won with 16.7% fo the vote. Let’s see if you can spot it.
- Minnesota also tied with the Lakers for second place (10.0% percent of the vote) for the most improved team this season. Brooklyn won the category with 62.1% of the vote.
- Andrei Kirilenko received a vote for best international player (Dirk won).
- The Wolves were all over the best international player to have a breakout season:
- Rick Adelman received a vote for best coach in the NBA with Gregg Popovich running away with the category win, thanks to 80.0% of the vote.
- Adelman also finished fourth behind Popovich (winner), Rick Carlisle, and Doug Collins for the coach who makes the best in-game adjustments. Rick also finished tied for second with Pop for coach with the best offensive system (George Karl won).
Now there are three categories that just really confused me, and we’re talking about votes from a profession in which it’s rare we have an overwhelming sense of competency throughout the league. The three categories I didn’t understand how the voting worked was with best offensive rebounder, player who does the most with limited natural ability, and toughest player in the league.
Kevin Love won the best offensive rebounder in the league award and I have no qualms with that. But how Nikola Pekovic didn’t receive a single vote after leading the NBA in offensive rebounding rate last season just confuses the hell out of me. Sam Olson asked me on Twitter if it could be a sense that he rebounds a lot of his own misses that could be viewed as gimmes. I went back and watched all of his offensive rebounds from this past season and just 14.3% of his offensive rebounds came off of his own misses. And of those rebounds off his own misses, 61.5% of them came from being blocked and recovering the rebound. He was a legitimate force on the offensive boards last season.
Also, Pek didn’t get a single vote for toughest player in the league. Hell, Eric Bledsoe and Manu Ginobili received votes! I’m not saying those guys aren’t tough (and anyone that responds with “yeah but Manu flops all the time” isn’t watching nearly enough Spurs games) but tougher than Pek? Good luck with your nightmares, NBA GMs.
Finally, the player who does the most with limited natural ability. Kevin Love won this “honor” for the second straight year. Last year, he received 26.9% of the vote and that went up to 34.5% of the voting this season. It’s ridiculous and myopic to say he has “limited natural ability.” Is he a world-class athlete storming the castle every time he gets the ball? No, he’s not. Does he have one of the best natural touches on his jumper, especially considering the position he plays? Absolutely.
I guess I don’t understand what natural ability means, especially considering Kevin Durant got a vote in this category. Marc Gasol finished third and that’s almost as equally infuriating. These guys have incredible ability on the basketball court. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. They don’t just get by on hustle and grit. They get by and excel at their jobs because they have absurd skills that other players can’t match most nights. And while they have to work on those skills and hone them through countless hours of practice, it doesn’t mean they weren’t given natural abilities.
Maybe instead of this category in the voting, we should have a vote on who does the least with the most natural ability.