The exclusive survey, providing fans with an inside look into the minds of NBA decision-makers on the season, revealed the Heat will win The Finals, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder who received 15 percent of the vote, and the Los Angeles Lakers with 7 percent. NBA GMs had selected the Lakers to win The Finals in the three previous NBA.com GM Surveys.
Durant (56 percent) was selected by general managers to win the 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, marking the second consecutive year GMs have selected the All-Star to win. Heat forward LeBron James received 44 percent of the vote. The first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving grabbed 63 percent of the GM vote to win the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year Award.
Derrick Rose (59 percent) of the Chicago Bulls was voted as the top point guard in the league, overtaking last year's top choice by GMs, Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets. GMs chose the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard (96 percent) as the top center, the Heat’s James (78 percent) as the best small forward, the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41 percent) as the best power forward, and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (56 percent) as the best shooting guard. Bryant is currently the only player to earn selection as the best at his position every year of the NBA.com GM Survey.
The Boston Celtics (64 percent) were picked again this year to win the Atlantic Division, Chicago Bulls (96 percent) in the Central Division and the Miami Heat (96 percent) in the Southeast Division. In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers (78 percent) were predicted to win the Pacific Division, the San Antonio Spurs (64 percent) in the Southwest Division, and the Oklahoma City Thunder (71 percent) in the Northwest Division.
Additional 2011-2012 NBA.com GM Survey results include:
• Spurs’ Gregg Popovich - best head coach in the NBA (42 percent)
• Magic’s Dwight Howard – best defensive player in the NBA (77 percent)
• Bulls’ Derrick Rose– fastest with the ball (58 percent)
• Clippers’ Chris Paul – best passer (41percent)
• Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio- most likely to have breakout season (37 percent)
• Miami Heat – most fun team to watch (33 percent)
• Celtics’ Ray Allen– best pure shooter (86 percent)
• Oklahoma City Thunder – team with the best home court advantage (44 percent)