All 30 GMs participated in NBA.com’s extensive questionnaire, and Jazz players got about as much attention as South Sevier High School.
OK, that was a slight exaggeration. The Rams were given more votes to win the Northwest Division than the Jazz. (Not really, but the Nuggets and Timberwolves did. No surprise: The Thunder were the overwhelming favorites, barring a South Sevier surge.)
Though Jazz players didn’t end up on the podium for any of the categories, some Utah guys did finish in the “also receiving votes” category. They include:
• International player most likely to have a breakout season: Enes Kanter (Winner: Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas). It’s likely Kanter, who did his version of the worm move at the team’s open scrimmage, would’ve been named “International player most likely to have a break-dancing season” had that category been included.
• Makes most of limited natural ability: Paul Millsap (Winner: Minnesota’s Kevin Love).
Also of interest, former Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko was on the most-underrated-player-acquisition list after being picked up by the T-Wolves. None of Utah’s additions — not even Chris Quinn! — ended up getting votes.
Weber State product Damian Lillard finished behind the Hornets’ Anthony Davis as the rookie of the year pick.
Another surprise: Rookie Kevin Murphy didn’t get any love for being the draft sleeper. Considering the Jazz’s past second-round fortunes, especially with the No. 47 pick (Millsap and Mo), you’d think Utah would get a vote on reputation alone.
The Jazz do, however, have one of the best overseas gems. Croatian big Ante Tomic, whose NBA rights are owned by Utah, received votes for that distinction.
It should be noted that GMs were not allowed to vote for their own organizations, so Jazz fans should probably consider waiting before sending Dennis Lindsey upset correspondence (for this issue, at least).
- Miami Heat – NBA Champion (70 percent of vote)
- LeBron James, Miami – MVP (66.7 percent)
- Los Angeles Lakers –Western Conference champions (60 percent)
- Chicago Bulls – Best Defensive Team (40 percent)
- Brooklyn Nets – Most Improved Team (62.1 percent)
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Best Home-court Advantage (70 percent) & Most Fun Team to Watch (30 percent)
- Gregg Popovich, San Antonio – Best Head Coach (80 percent)
- Best position players: Chris Paul (point guard), Kobe Bryant (shooting guard), LeBron James (small forward), Kevin Love (power forward) and Dwight Howard (center).
- Steve Nash, L.A. Lakers – Best Basketball IQ (27.6 percent)