The NBA GM Survey is a funny thing, really. I liken it to people on Twitter asking you to quote with your opinion on a random NBA topic. Except this version has actual NBA GM’s rather than Twitter GM’s. In my experience, I’ve seen NBA general managers are just a *tad* smarter than your average internet user.
The fact remains: the Lakers have been a popular talking point this offseason, on the internet and with NBA general managers. That was made apparent in this year’s edition of the GM Survey. Members of the Lakers came up in a few separate polls.
The first Laker to show up was sophomore point guard D’Angelo Russell.Disclaimer***– Before you and the rest of the villagers come out with pitchforks and torches, this is just opinion.
First off, nice. Secondly, it seems Russell, as a player at least, is still held in high regard in NBA GM circles. Russell has been a fan-favorite ever since his first day in Los Angeles and his popularity among Angelinos grew larger as he pointed to his icy veins and hotline bling-ed all over the Sacremento Kings. Russell being voted behind his peers, who appear to be future All-NBAers, shouldn’t be seen as a slight.
The Lakers surface as a team in the next poll.When your team wins a measly 17 games, there is room for improvement to say the least. With the addition of head coach Luke Walton and the deduction of former head coach Byron Scott, an uptick in wins seems near-certain. The GM’s are counting on natural improvement and progression from the youthful players lining LA’s roster, and not without just cause. In a small sample size throughout the current preseason, each of the young Lakers have shown promise.
Brandon Ingram is a mainstay in the rookie-related polls among basketball’s smart people.Ingram’s intangibles, natural feel for the game, and measurables tee him up to be one of the league’s premier players in the future. Though Ingram has struggled to find shot in the preseason, he has already started to live up to his reputation as a defensive nightmare. Ingram has already flashed why he was so highly touted coming into the draft.
This is where it gets to be unacceptable. Ivica Zubac was robbed.Only ‘Also receiving votes.’ Zublocka will prove everybody who doubts him wrong when he receives all the votes for both MVP and Finals MVP.
New head coach Luke Walton will certainly look to make a big impact this season with the Lakers.While his impact is likelier to show in the player’s development rather than the win column, it will be there. His presence is already pronounced early on in his Lakers coaching career, and evidently, his players have taken a liking to him running things. D’Angelo Russell is arguably Walton’s biggest fan, often voicing his appreciation for his new coach. It would not be surprising to see D’Lo and Walton building bunk beds to create more room for activities. Assistant coach Brian Shaw also received votes for best assistant coach.
While these are just opinions, seeing the Lakers come up often in the minds of NBA GM’s is a good indicator of things being on an upswing in Los Angeles. It is worth mentioning that there was not a poll for ‘NBA’s best backcourt,’ and even if there was, I cannot say confidently that Russell and Jordan Clarkson would receive many votes. But that backcourt will be put to the test in just over a week when the season opens versus bearded D’Angelo Russell Lite and the Houston Rockets.
*All screenshots are from NBA.com