The regular season is right around the corner. Fans get a glimpse at what NBA executives and front offices think about the landscape of the league with NBA.com’s 22nd annual GM survey.
Every general manager is asked to answer 50 questions anonymously about how they view players, teams, coaches and the recent offseason’s transactions. After a turbulent offseason, the Sixers results are interesting, to say the least. Let’s have a look!
An important disclaimer to keep in mind reading this survey is that general managers are not allowed to vote for their own players, coaches and teams. So any vote for the Sixers could not have come from Daryl Morey.
Philadelphia finished first in just one category this year, and that was “Which team’s level of success is toughest to predict?” The Sixers ran away with this one, coming away with 30% of the vote while the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder tied for second with 12% of the vote.
This isn’t a huge shock, given nobody knows when or if James Harden will step on the court for the Sixers this season. The team that earned the most votes for this question last year was the Brooklyn Nets, a team also that saw a star request a trade, only to come back to training camp after an unsuccessful summer of trade negotiations. With Daryl Morey very willing to hold on to Harden as long as it takes, it’s no shock the league has no idea what to predict for the Sixers.
As a team, the Sixers got no votes to win the NBA championship or any first- or second-place votes in the Eastern Conference, but 50% of the vote had them finishing as either the third or fourth seed in the East. As to who will win the Finals, the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets split the vote at 33% a piece.
The team didn’t really show up as a whole for the rest of the survey, though they were voted to have the eighth-best home court advantage in the league.
As the reigning MVP of the league, how did Joel Embiid fair in this survey? He didn’t finish in the top four to win MVP this year or for the player you could sign to start a franchise with, but he did receive a vote for both categories. Nikola Jokic came in first place in both of those categories.
Jokic also cleaned up on the best center and best international player categories, but Embiid got a vote for best center and was voted the fourth-best international player, behind Jokic, Giannis Antetekoumnpo and Luka Doncic.
The most interesting question where Embiid appeared was “Which player forces coaches to make the most in-game adjustments?” Steph Curry came in first for that, as he did last year, but Embiid was on fifth on this list, with 3% of the vote.
Adjustments are something the league expects Philadelphia to excel at this season. Not only did Embiid place in that list, but their new head coach Nick Nurse tied for third with Indiana’s Rick Carlisle for “which head coach makes the best in-game adjustments?”
Nurse didn’t finish in the top five for coach with the best offense or defense, but he did receive a vote for each category. Despite receiving votes for his offense, defense and in-game adjustments, Nurse did not finish in the top five for “which new or relocated head coach will make the biggest impact on their team?”
Houston’s Ime Udokah walked away with first place in that category, receiving 57% of the vote. Given Nurse’s reputation and the other places he appeared on this list, it’s surprising he didn’t crack the top five there.
The last Sixer to make an individual appearance on this survey was Tyrese Maxey, who tied for fourth with Paolo Banchero for “which player is most likely to have a breakout season?” This category is often a place to see which young players the league is high on, and the answers were dominated by young guys. Maxey at 22 years old was actually the oldest player in the top five, which made it all the more funny to find the 31-year-old, eight-time All-Star Kyrie Irving in the honorable mentions.