It feels nearly impossible for a franchise as big as the Lakers to fly under the radar. And perhaps they can’t actually go under the radar, but it appears pretty clear after the release of Tuesday’s annual GM survey that, at least for now, no one is buying into any hype.
While it should come with pallets of salt, the yearly GM survey does offer a look at how the league looks at various specifics heading into a given season. And there aren’t many GMs viewing the Lakers as a team or individuals favorably.
There was only one category that the Lakers finished first in, that being LeBron James being voted as the best leader in the league. He took 27% of the vote with Steph Curry coming second at 23%.
LeBron was also voted the second-most versatile player in the league behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and the player wit the second-best basketball IQ behind Nikola Jokic. He also was voted the third-best passer in the league behind Jokic and Luka Doncic.
If anything, it’s the areas where the Lakers were shut out or hardly featured that felt the most egregious. Anthony Davis, for example, got quite a low amount of respect as a defender despite his incredible postseason run.
In a vote of the best defenders in the league, Davis wasn’t in the top six vote-getters. He only finished tied for fourth among the top interior defenders with Jaren Jackson Jr. comfortably in first. Rudy Gobert and Brook Lopez both ranked ahead of Davis while he tied with Draymond Green.
It’s not the first time he’s been snubbed for defensive recognition as he wasn’t named to either of the All-Defense teams last year.
The most interesting finish for Davis was in the voting for who will win MVP this year in which he finished among those receiving votes. He also received some recognition in the vote for the best center in the league, though 93% of the vote went to Nikola Jokic with the remaining votes split between AD and Joel Embiid.
As a team, the Lakers received zero votes for the team that will win the NBA title. They received only 3% of the vote total for a first-place finish in the Western Conference. Third place was the most common final place for the Lakers at 27% of the votes. Following that was 23% of the votes for fourth and 20% for second. The rest of the voters — 27% of them — expect the Lakers to finish outside the top four.
The Lakers did finish fourth in voting for the best offseason, though they finished behind the Blazers. There’s nothing GMs love more than praising teams who had to trade away a superstar.
Again, all of this is very subjective and GMs are notably moody in all the voting they do. It’s basically friends voting for their friends and the Lakers aren’t often in that inner circle.
As always, it’s the plucky underdog Lakers against the world.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.