NBA.com’s annual preseason survey of NBA general managers was released Tuesday and the Wizards didn’t receive much love from the rest of the league’s front-office bosses. While Washington is predicted to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference after missing the playoffs last season, the Wizards received only one other mention in the results of the 48-question survey. (GMs were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel.)
From the not-at-all-surprising department: No GM thinks the Wizards have the best home-court advantage or acquired the player in the offseason who will make the biggest impact. Golden State and Warriors forward Kevin Durant were the runaway winners in those two categories.
From the sort-of surprising department: No GM answered “Wizards Coach Scott Brooks” in response to the question about which new (or relocated) coach will make the biggest impact this season. Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau was the No. 1 answer, followed by Orlando’s Frank Vogel, Houston’s Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers’ Luke Walton.
From the very surprising (except not, if one recalls previous NBA GM surveys): John Wall didn’t receive a single vote as the game’s best passer, but Chicago’s Rajon Rondo and Sixers rookie Ben Simmons did. Chris Paul, LeBron James and Ricky Rubio were the top three vote-getters.
As Bullets Forever notes, this isn’t the first time that NBA GMs have refused to recognize Wall as one of the league’s elite passers. In fact, Wall hasn’t received a single vote in the category since he entered the league in 2010. That’s despite finishing third, second and second in assists per game over the last three seasons, respectively, and having more assists than everyone except Paul since his rookie year.
Wall, who is coming off offseason knee surgery, did rank second in the “fastest with the ball” category in this year’s survey behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. Wall won that category with 53.4 percent of the vote last season and tied with Westbrook the year before.
It appears Wizards’ point guard will use the results of the survey as motivation for the coming season. “Love it!!” Wall tweeted for a second consecutive October, in reference to another tweet noting his absence from the “best passer” category.
If a preseason survey adds even the slightest amount of fuel to Wall’s fire, Wizards fans should love it, too.