Game on the line, which player would NBA general managers taking a game-winning shot?
For a second straight year, it’s Kevin Durant.
In the annual GM survey, Durant received 39.3 percent to Kobe’s 32.1 percent, with Carmelo and LeBron tied for third at 7.1 percent. Durant’s percentage did dip a little from last season, though (46.7).
There is kind of an unhealthy obsession over this scenario, because basically it’s a way to ask, “Who you think is clutch and who is a choker?” For whatever reason, things like winning and actual outstanding play often get ignored while people argue about taking game-winners. It’s just the way it is, but, if I were voting in this category, I’d probably take Durant too.
He’s already got a strong resume in those situations, plus there’s the fact that he can get his own shot pretty much any time he wants it, and it doesn’t matter if it’s from 30 feet or three feet. The only question is, Kobe No. 2? He’s obviously one of the best in crunchtime ever, but to pick him now, in the current circumstances, that seems… odd.
Some other notes from the survey:
- The Thunder only received votes to win the 2014 NBA Finals. Which means they’re in the conversation, but didn’t get enough to get a percentage.
- The Thunder received 36.7 percent to win the West, behind San Antonio’s 40.0 percent.
- The Thunder are overwhelming favorites to win the Northwest at 96.6 percent.
- GMs pegged LeBron to win yet another MVP with Durant finishing behind him again. LeBron received 69.0 percent, Durant got 24.1 percent.
- KD was also behind LeBron in the “If you were starting a franchise today…” question with just 6.9 percent to 89.7.
- It’s a trend: LeBron at 66.7 percent to KD’s 13.3 percent in which player forces coaches to make the most adjustments.
- Reggie Jackson received 6.9 percent for breakout player, behind Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond, and tied with Paul George and Derrick Favors. Jeremy Lamb also received votes in that category.
- Amazingly, Russell Westbrook didn’t pick up any votes for “Best Point Guard,” as the top three was Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Tony Parker.
- KD received votes for best shooting guard, best small forward and best power forward. Versatility!
- For best offseason moves, somehow the Thunder received votes. Someone must’ve really loved that Ryan Gomes pickup.
- Steven Adams received votes for “most underrated player acquisition.”
- My favorite one: Andre Roberson received votes for Rookie of the Year. Andre Roberson!
- Adams received votes for which rookie will be the best in five years and got 6.9 percent (third place) for biggest draft steal.
- Serge Ibaka received votes for international player to have a breakout season as well as best defensive player. His defensive reputation isn’t as sparkling with GMs, apparently. He did get 10.0 percent for best interior defender.
- The Thunder received votes for best defensive team.
- Scott Brooks received votes for being the motivator/manager of his team. And he also got votes for best in-game adjustment. So…
- I found this interesting: Brooks didn’t receive any votes for “which coach runs the best offense” despite the Thunder finishing top five in points and top two in offensive efficiency.
- Derek Fisher picked up 7.1 percent for which player will make the best head coach.
- The Thunder were third at 13.8 percent for funnest team to watch.
- The Thunder were No. 1 at 36.7 percent for best home court advantage. However, that’s down from 70.0 percent the season before.
- Russell Westbrook was voted second most athletic (16.7 percent) behind LeBron (56.7 percent).
- Durant was voted third best “pure shooter” at 10.3 percent, behind Stephen Curry (44.8) and Ray Allen (24.1).
- Westbrook was voted fastest with the ball with 26.7 percent. Behind him in the dust is Ty Lawson, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tony Parker and Chris Paul. Westbrook finished second, tied with Rose, for best in the open floor.
- GMs picked KD as the best in the league at getting his own shot. I suppose being 6-11 with a ridiculous handle and range to halfcourt helps.
- Durant received votes for best finisher at the rim.
- Nick Collison received votes for making the most off of limited natural ability. Collison also finished third for toughest player, behind Kobe and David West.
- KD finished behind Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul for best leader. Pretty good company right there.