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Nets as a team, Kevin Durant as a player dominate preseason NBA GM survey

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers

It’s an annual tradition. NBA.com polls the 30 general managers to get their sense of which way the season will go, being asked everything from who will win the title to which overseas players are the best prospects.

And this year, the GMs are joining the pundits in predicting big things from the Nets as a team and Kevin Durant as a player. The two other members of the “Big Three” also get some recognition, but everyone seems to agree, this is KD’s year as well as Brooklyn’s.

As John Schuhmann of NBA.com wrote in summarizing...

When it comes to predicting the 2021-22 season, there’s just no denying the talent on the Brooklyn Nets. In the 20th annual NBA.com GM Survey, both Kevin Durant and James Harden were named the best players at their position, and 72% of responding decision makers picked the Nets to win their first NBA championship.

Considering that the Los Angeles Lakers are second at 17 percent and defending champ Milwaukee Bucks are at 10 percent, the poll was a resounding vote of confidence in what the GMs’ counterpart, Sean Marks, has put together in Brooklyn. The Nets are also the favorite among GMs as Eastern Conference winner, with 83 percent. The Bucks were at 17. No other NBA team received a vote.

The Nets also won in the most-fun-to-watch category at 30 percent, 13 points ahead of the Warriors.

In the survey, Durant was voted the likely MVP winner with 37 percent of the vote, three points ahead of Luka Doncic. James Harden was also one of only five players to get an MVP vote. He finished fourth, tied with Joel Embiid, with seven percent. KD also finished second behind Steph Curry in voting for the player who’ll force the most adjustments. Steph Curry got 27 percent, Durant 20. Despite his age, he even got a number of votes for “If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?” and best pure shooter. Steph Curry dominated with 90 percent of the vote.

In position voting, Durant got 67 percent for best small forward while Harden got 63 percent for best shooting guard (and some votes for best passer.) Of course, in the Nets position-less schemes, neither will be confined to those spots. In fact, Durant received 10 percent of the vote for best power forward and 13 percent for most versatile! Kyrie Irving received no votes in either the point guard or shooting guard polling. Irving and Durant both finished in the top six vote-getters for player you’d most trust to make the last shot in a crucial game. Irving got three percent, Durant 41, tops in the category.

The Nets also finished third in best off-season poll, with seven percent, well behind the Heat at 47 percent and Lakers at 17 percent. In terms of most underrated acquisition, the Nets signing of Patty Mills to a two-year, taxpayer MLE deal ranked second with 17 percent behind Larry Nance Jr. at 28 percent.

Although Cam Thomas didn’t receive any vote for Rookie of the Year or which rookie will be the best player in five years, the Nets rookie did receive a vote for the biggest steal of the Draft.

Steve Nash also got a smattering of votes, finishing fourth with 10 percent of the vote for which coach runs the best offense. He also received votes for best motivator or players. David Vanterpool, hired from the Timberwolves by Marks, finished third among best assistant coaches with 10 percent, a competition Kenny Atkinson won. Patty Mills also got a vote for player who would make the best head coach after retirement.

The Nets received no votes for best leader and none for the best home-court advantage.