HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The 11th annual NBA.com GM Survey signifies the dawn of a new era. According to the league’s general managers, Kobe Bryant is no longer Mr. Clutch.
For 10 years, when GMs were asked which player should be taking the shot with a game on the line, Bryant received the most votes. This year, he did not.
Kevin Durant is the new Mr. Clutch in the eyes of the league’s GMs. Durant received 46.7 percent of the vote on that question this year, ahead of Bryant’s 40.0 percent.
Last season, Bryant and Durant were nearly identical in the clutch. Durant shot 47-for-120 (39.2 percent) in clutch time*, while Bryant shot 44-for-122 (36.1 percent). Durant was better from 3-point range, but Bryant got to the free-throw line more often. Amazingly, Bryant (51-for-127) and Durant (54-for-133) were nearly identical in clutch time the season before as well.
*Clutch time = Last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, with a score differential of five points or less.
If you go by true shooting percentage, the most clutch players over the last three years (minimum 100 FGA) have been Chauncey Billups (because he gets to the line so often), Jason Terry, Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili and … get ready for it … LeBron James.
Among the 79 players who have attempted at least 100 shots in clutch time over the last three years, Durant ranks 34th in true shooting percentage, while Bryant ranks 38th.
Though the GMs no longer think that Bryant is Mr. Clutch, they still consider him to be the best shooting guard in the league, as they have every year of the survey. From his days with Shaq to his days with Dwight, he’s the only player to rank No. 1 at his position all 11 years.
NBA.com GM Survey – best player by position
|Year||Best PG||Best SG||Best SF||Best PF||Best C|
|2002-03||Jason Kidd||Kobe Bryant||Tracy McGrady||Tim Duncan||Shaquille O’Neal|
|2003-04||Jason Kidd||Kobe Bryant||Tracy McGrady||Tim Duncan||Shaquille O’Neal|
|2004-05||Jason Kidd||Kobe Bryant||Tracy McGrady||Tim Duncan||Shaquille O’Neal|
|2005-06||Steve Nash||Kobe Bryant||Tracy McGrady||Tim Duncan||Shaquille O’Neal|
|2006-07||Steve Nash||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Tim Duncan||Shaquille O’Neal|
|2007-08||Steve Nash||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Tim Duncan||Tim Duncan|
|2008-08||Chris Paul||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Tim Duncan||Dwight Howard|
|2009-10||Chris Paul||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Tim Duncan||Dwight Howard|
|2010-11||Deron Williams||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Gasol/Nowitzki||Dwight Howard|
|2011-12||Derrick Rose||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Dirk Nowitzki||Dwight Howard|
|2012-13||Chris Paul||Kobe Bryant||LeBron James||Kevin Love||Dwight Howard|
Dirk Nowitzki‘s reign as the top power forward lasted just two years, but he’s been at the head of the international class for the life of the survey. All 11 years, including the years when Steve Nash was named MVP, Nowitzki has been named the league’s best international player.
Overall, it seems that general managers are more definitive this year. Gregg Popovich was named the league’s best coach for the fourth time, but this time with 80 percent of the vote. That’s the highest percentage any coach has received in the history of the survey.
When the GMs were asked what player they’d start a franchise with, James received more than twice as many votes as he did last year and the most any player has ever received, even though he’s about to turn 28 and has over 32,000 minutes of NBA mileage on his body.
Just because they’re definitive, it doesn’t mean they’re right. In the previous 10 years, the GMs have predicted the Finals winner just five out of 10 times. In fact, the only teams that have received the most votes are the Lakers, Spurs and Heat.
NBA.com GM Survey – NBA champion prediction
|2002-03||L.A. Lakers||61.5%||San Antonio|
|2004-05||San Antonio||45.2%||San Antonio|
|2006-07||San Antonio||42.9%||San Antonio|
|2008-08||L.A. Lakers||46.2%||L.A. Lakers|
|2009-10||L.A. Lakers||60.7%||L.A. Lakers|
GMs have correctly predicted the conference champions 12 out of 18 times (there was no conference-champ question in 2002), and have got 36 of the 56 divisional champs over the years. Only twice have they predicted the MVP correctly…
NBA.com GM Survey – MVP prediction
|2002-03||Kobe Bryant||30.8%||Tim Duncan|
|2003-04||Tim Duncan||42.9%||Kevin Garnett|
|2004-05||Shaquille O’Neal||57.1%||Steve Nash|
|2005-06||Tim Duncan||58.3%||Steve Nash|
|2006-07||LeBron James||39.3%||Dirk Nowitzki|
|2007-08||LeBron James||29.6%||Kobe Bryant|
|2008-08||LeBron James||55.6%||LeBron James|
|2009-10||LeBron James||69.0%||LeBron James|
|2010-11||Kevin Durant||66.7%||Derrick Rose|
|2011-12||Kevin Durant||55.6%||LeBron James|
Here’s some more GM Survey history…
If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player, who would it be?
|Year||Best coach||Best defender||Most athletic||Best pure shooter||Best passer|
|2002-03||Phil Jackson||Gary Payton||Vince Carter||Ray Allen||Jason Kidd|
|2003-04||Larry Brown||Ben Wallace||Tracy McGrady||Ray Allen||N/A|
|2004-05||Larry Brown||Ron Artest||LeBron James||Peja Stojakovic||N/A|
|2005-06||Larry Brown||Ben Wallace||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Jason Kidd|
|2006-07||Pat Riley||Ben Wallace||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|
|2007-08||Gregg Popovich||Bruce Bowen||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|
|2008-08||Gregg Popovich||Kevin Garnett||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|
|2009-10||Phil Jackson||Dwight Howard||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|
|2010-11||Phil Jackson||Dwight Howard||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|
|2011-12||Gregg Popovich||Dwight Howard||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Chris Paul|
|2012-13||Gregg Popovich||Dwight Howard||LeBron James||Ray Allen||Steve Nash|