The annual NBA GM survey offers insight into the minds of those that run the league. It’s a glimpse of how some of the most powerful people in the NBA view players and teams with a variety of superlatives.
This year, though, it appears the GMs forgot about the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s the only logical explanation for their odd disappearance from most of the survey. Sure, I’m not arguing they should be listed among the contenders for the NBA title or even the Western Conference title.
But LeBron James, coming off arguably the greatest scoring season of his career, did not receive a singular vote predicting the winner of the 2022-23 MVP, nor did he receive a vote for the player that forces coaches to make the most adjustments.
He did receive recognition as one of the best small forwards in the league, but still garnered just 10% of the vote, behind Kevin Durant in first with 45% of the vote and Jayson Tatum in second with 24%. His low finish could pretty easily be attributed to him also receiving votes as the best power forward in the league as well, but his 10% of the vote again was a distant second to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 86% of the vote.
It’s understandable they received no plaudits for their offseason moves because, well, there wasn’t much they did during the offseason. And the lone rookie they drafted, Max Christie, looks to be a few years away from deserving any sort of his own plaudits.
But then there are categories about defense and while the Lakers as a team were objectively awful on that end, Anthony Davis still has a well-earned reputation as an elite defender. We’re almost exactly two years removed from him being the focal point on that end of the court of a title-winning Lakers team.
There was not one mention of him in the defensive section, though. Not for best interior defender. Not for most versatile defender, despite defending Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler both in those 2020 Finals.
Darvin Ham was voted as the runaway winner for the new or relocated coach to make the biggest impact on his new team, beating out Mike Brown in Sacramento and Steve Clifford in Charlotte. The Lakers did receive recognition for being the second-hardest team to predict how successful this year behind only Brooklyn.
But perhaps the most egregious vote came in the best passers of the ball. Nikola Jokic was first by a landslide which I guess is fair, but LeBron wasn’t even in the top three. That comes a year after finishing first. Do GMs think he forgot how to pass the ball?
LeBron was named the player with the highest basketball IQ and the second-most versatile player in the league behind Giannis. He was also voted the third-best leader behind Chris Paul, who lost a Game 7 by like 500 points, and Steph Curry.
The only logical explanation for this voting and the amount of times LeBron and AD were omitted, ultimately, is that the voters forgot about the Lakers until the end of the survey. And if they can so easily forget about the Lakers for this survey, maybe that would explain the lack of Russell Westbrook trade with GMs forgetting to call the Lakers back after being made an offer.