The results of the 12th annual GM Survey are officially in, and it is clear that the NBA community is taking notice of the Indiana Pacers. According to nba.com, the method by which the survey is conducted is by asking each team’s general manager to respond to a questionnaire regarding "the best teams, players, coaches, fans, and offseason moves." The GMs are not permitted to vote for anyone employed by their own team.
Impressively, the Pacers were designated as one of only five contenders (Miami, San Antonio, Chicago, L.A. Clippers, and Oklahoma City) for the 2014 NBA Championship. Behind only the Miami Heat, the Pacers came in at 2nd (tied with the San Antonio Spurs) with 6.9% of the vote.
When asked who was most likely to win the Eastern Conference, the Pacers once again came in at 2nd with 10.3% of the vote trailing the reigning champs. With a slim majority (51.7%), the general managers did give the Indiana Pacers the edge over the Chicago Bulls (48.3%) to win the Central Division.
With regard to questions concerning the league’s most elite players, various Pacers received high praise from the GMs. Paul George is considered by the general managers as the league’s third best shooting guard (behind only James Harden and Kobe Bryant), and was selected as one of the top perimeter defenders (following Tony Allen and LeBron James). Roy Hibbert was projected as one of the NBA’s top centers (following Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, and Tim Duncan), and noted as one of the best interior defenders (behind Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah; tied with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka). Meanwhile, David West was pegged as one of the league’s toughest players behind Kobe Bryant.
The Pacers also received high marks from survey questions dealing with the 2013 offseason. Indiana’s trade for Luis Scola was selected as the most underrated player acquisition of the summer (tied with Jrue Holiday, New Orleans; and Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn). The front office also received votes for making the best overall moves this offseason.
Boasting the league’s best FG% defense last season undoubtedly helped the Pacers earn the respect of the GMs on questions concerning defense. When asked about which squad is the best defensive team, Indiana earned 33.3% of the vote – second only to the Chicago Bulls. Frank Vogel was tapped as one of the head coaches with the best defensive schemes. Once again, the Pacers came in at second behind Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls.
What do you think of the polling data Pacers fans? Certainly, the Pacers have to be pleased by being selected as one of the teams most likely to win the NBA Finals. Nevertheless, they did, in the opinion of the general managers, finish in second in a number of categories – likelihood of winning the title, likelihood of winning the ECF, best defense, best defensive schemes, etc. Consequently, from these results it can be interpreted that the Pacers biggest foes this season, unsurprisingly, are none other than the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls. Regardless of what the survey says, most fans would likely agree that the start of the season cannot come fast enough. It is time to start seeing first-hand - not from projections - just how well the new look Pacers actually match-up in comparison to the league’s elite.
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