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Survey of NBA general managers picks Brooklyn to win Atlantic Division

Nets win four total votes in yearly poll, place in a dozen others
10/22/2013 2:14 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Will Jason Kidd lead the Nets to the Atlantic Division crown this season?(AP)
The NBA released its 12th annual General Managers Survey on Tuesday, and the consensus of league execs predicted the Brooklyn Nets to win the Atlantic Division this season.

The poll, which queries all 30 GMs on 56 questions ranging from predicted standings to player awards and honors to offseason questions, saw 75.9 percent of the pool of respondents pick the Nets to capture their division, with the other 24.1 percent choosing the New York Knicks.

Beyond the division crown, the Nets were co-winners in two other derbies; the blockbuster trade with the Celtics earned 24.1 percent of the vote to tie Golden State’s acquisition of Andre Iguodala as the Most Surprising Move of the Offseason, and Brooklyn’s signing of Andrei Kirilenko (10 percent) ties Indiana’s acquisition of Luis Scola and New Orleans’ trade for Jrue Holiday as the Most Underrated Player Acquisition of the offseason.

Assistant coach Lawrence Frank was also an individual winner, as 21.4 percent of respondents named him as the Best Assistant Coach in the NBA.

Beyond those wins, the Nets also placed or received votes in several other categories, with one of their newest acquisitions bringing in a lot of proverbial ribbons.

On a team level, Brooklyn earned 24.1 percent of the vote to place as the runner-up in the query of which team made the best overall offseason moves, snagged 13.3 percent of the votes to place in a six-way tie for second behind Detroit (16.7 percent) for the Most Improved Team, and garnered 6.9 percent of the vote to finished tied for fourth with San Antonio in the running for Most Fun Team to Watch.

Player-wise, it was Kevin Garnett who led the way, as “The Big Ticket” was named second behind Tim Duncan as the league’s Best Leader, tied with two others for third place in the Toughest Player voting, and placed in the “others receiving votes” tally in the league’s poll of the Best Power Forward and the query of which singular offseason acquisition will make the biggest impact.

Four other 2013-14 Nets also got some individual dap: Mirza Teletovic earned 7.1 percent of the vote to place third behind Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio in the poll of which international player will have a breakout season; Reggie Evans snagged 10.3 percent to finish fourth in the voting for the league’s Best Offensive Rebounder; Andrei Kirilenko, whose move to Brooklyn was the third-most surprising offseason move, received at least one vote for having the Best Basketball IQ; and Paul Pierce also received a vote in the Most Underrated Acquisition poll.

Overall, LeBron James and San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich were the “big winners” of the voting; of the five coaching categories he was eligible for, Popovich won four of them and placed in the fifth, while LBJ won eight individual votes – including the one for MVP and Best Small Forward – and, if all goes according to GM theory, will see his Heat repeat as Southeast Division, Eastern Conference, and NBA Champions.

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