LOS ANGELES: LeBron James is tipped to win the NBA’s MVP award in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers while the Golden State Warriors are favorites to clinch a third consecutive championship, the league’s annual survey of general managers revealed Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
While James has cautioned that it will take time to transform the Lakers into a team capable of challenging for silverware, the 33-year-old remains the most popular pick to win MVP amongst the league’s 30 general managers.
James, who made his Staples Center debut for the Lakers in a pre-season game on Tuesday, was the pick of 30% of GMs while Golden State’s Kevin Durant polled second with 27%.
The Warriors meanwhile remain the overwhelming favourites to win a fourth title in five seasons.
Eighty-seven percent of GMs backed the Oakland outfit to retain their title, with the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets earning seven percent each.
The Celtics are most executives’ favourites to face the Warriors in the NBA Finals, with 90% ranking Boston as the best team in the Eastern Conference.
James meanwhile was also given high marks for his overall ability, topping the rankings as the most versatile player and the player with the best “basketball IQ”.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo was tipped as the most sought-after player, with 30% of managers saying he would be the top choice if they were attempting to build a franchise. New Orleans’ Anthony Davis was second with 23%.
The survey was based on answers to 49 different questions about teams, players, coaches and fans, with general managers not allowed to vote for their own team or personnel.
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