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In NBA GM survey, Nets have a fall from grace

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Last year, the Brooklyn Nets dominated the NBA GM survey, the annual poll of league executives. There were championship dreams and individual honors predicted. This year, the Nets lead in only one category:

“Which team’s level of success this season is toughest to predict?”

The Nets scored 32 percent among the GMs who answered the question, well ahead of the Lakers, who had their own troubles last year, at 18 percent.

Other than that, the Nets and their players dropped in GMs estimations. Here’s a sampling.

Which team will win the 2023 NBA Finals?

Last year, the Nets got 72 percent of the vote. This year, they didn’t make top five.

Which team will win the East?

Last year, the Nets got 83 percent. This year, it’s down to 12.

Who will win the 2022-23 Kia MVP?

Last year, Kevin Durant got 37 percent of the vote, this year he got none.

Who is the best small forward in the NBA?

Durant is still the leader at 45 percent, but he’s down from last year’s 67 percent. (He also got three percent of the vote for best power forward and seven percent among most versatile, tied for No. 3.)

Which team is the most fun to watch?

Last year, the Nets topped the list at 30 percent. This year, they dropped to third and 10 percent.

Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line?

Last year, it was KD at 41 percent, the top number. This year, he’s No. 2 behind Steph Curry at 17 percent.

You get the picture. The Nets won 44 games last season, had to get into the post-season via the play-in tournament, then got swept by the Celtics. The off-season, of course, was two months of uncertainty with the KD and Kyrie sagas. Also the Ben Simmons holdout hangover and back surgery hurt.

Simmons, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year in his last healthy season, was relegated to “also receiving votes” in categories where you’d think he would have been higher ranked, like “Who is the best defensive player in the NBA?,” “Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?,” and “Who is the most versatile defender in the NBA?” He also got votes for “Who is the most versatile player in the NBA?” a category where Durant finished tied for third, and “Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2022-23?” He got no votes to the best point guard question.

Not a lot of love for other Nets players either but an interesting footnote in the “What was the most underrated player acquisition?” category. Royce O’Neale got an undisclosed if small number of votes as did “Nets not trading stars.”

One acquisition did make the GM lists. Igor Kokoskov, the long time assistant coach, got votes for “best assistant coach,” a category Kenny Atkinson ran away with. Now with the Warriors, the for Nets head coach got 34 percent. Patty Mills also got votes when GMs were asked, “Which active player will make the best head coach someday?”

As we’ve said before, we got them just where we want them. We hope. Who’s favored to win it all: the Milwaukee Bucks. It should be noted that the GMs, as author John Schuhmann later tweeted, have correctly picked the champion nine times in the 20-year history of the survey.