giannis antetokounmpo mvp nba 2019-20 gm survey

NBA 2019-20 GM Survey is Out: Who is the Likely MVP?

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has already released its annual GM survey. It asked the NBA teams’ executives about the 2019-20 season MVP, champion, and best players, among others.

As NBA disclaimed, the GMs are the decision-makers of the franchise and answers to the survey is their best guesses. The GMs are not allowed to vote for their teams and players. Percentages are based on the total number of GMs who responded to a specific question, not for all the 30 GMs.

NBA Finals Champion

Los Angeles Clippers (46%) was predicted to be this season’s champion. It was followed by Milwaukee Bucks (36%) and Los Angeles Lakers (11%) which are also ranked #1 team in the Eastern and Western Conference, respectively.

The results are distributed. In the last season, the Golden State Warriors received 87% of the vote. The team still received votes this year, though, along with Portland Trailblazers.

Interestingly, Toronto Raptors, which did not appear in the results, won the 2018-19 NBA Finals championship.

Kia MVP Awardee

About 52% of the respondents chose Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, who won last year’s MVP award. The majority of the GMs is apparently impressed of his previous season’s performance.

The disparity among the next choices is pretty wide, at 10%. Three names emerged: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), and Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers).

The last year’s choice was LeBron James with 30%.

Speaking of last year’s survey results, when asked the GMs if they were to start a franchise who would they choose to start it, Antetokounmpo was also the runaway winner. He received 30% of the vote last year and a whopping 86% this year.

Rookie of the Year

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, the no. 1 overall draft pick, was chosen to be most likely Rookie of the Year awardee at 68%. He also deemed as the most athletic among the players today. The GMs also highlight that in five years, Williamson would be the NBA’s best player.

Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) and Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers) also received 29% and 4% of the votes, respectively.

Luca Doncic was predicted to receive the award in the last year’s survey with 43% of the total votes. Doncic was indeed awarded as the Rookie of the Year.

Best Overall Offseason Move

The Los Angeles Clippers (82%) was voted to have made the best move of the offseason. This is in part of the acquisition that is expected to make the biggest impact, referring to Leonard’s transfer from Toronto Raptors to the Clippers (67%). 

Other survey results are below.

Best Point Guard: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Best Shooting Guard: James Harden (Houston Rockets)

Best Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)

Best Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Best Center: Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

Best Defensive Player: Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)

Best Perimeter Defender: Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)

Best Interior Defender: Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)

Most Versatile Defender: Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)

Best Defensive Team: Los Angeles Clippers

Best Head Coach: Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)

Breakout Player: De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)

Most Fun to Watch: Denver Nuggets

Best Pure Shooter: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Best Passer: LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)

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Do you agree with the choices of the GMs? Let us know your thoughts.

Player Feature: Kawhi Leonard

Full Name: Kawhi Anthony Leonard 

Birthdate: June 29, 1991

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California 

Current team: Los Angeles Clippers

Position: Small forward

Years active: 2011 – present

Key statistics

  • Known for his ball-hawking skills
  • A physical marvel with 6’7” height and 7’3” wingspan
  • Has won both Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year
  • With six straight 30-point performance games
  • Won the semifinals against Philadelphia 76ers with a 4.2-second buzzer-beater
  • Scored 732 points and became the 3rd best scoring NBA player in history

Kawhi Leonard earned his moniker the “Claw” (or “Klaw” to denote the first letter of his name) because of his ball-hawking skills.

Sports Illustrated lauded Leonard’s strong work ethics as well as “physical marvel” with his 6’7” height and 7’3” wingspan. All the more, he knows how to use this to his advantage for defensive and rebounding purposes. Screening and eluding him on the court would be difficult.

One weakness of Leonard, however, was his weak offensive capabilities during his first few seasons with San Antonio Spurs. Another concern was his shooting skills, especially outside. And which he addressed by training off-season with his former San Diego State University’s strength and conditioning coach, Randy Shelton.

Anything he knows about basketball he was able to demonstrate throughout his seven-season stint with the Spurs. In 2014, he brought an NBA championship and named the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). He was technically the third youngest NBA player to win the said award; Magic Johnson held the first two positions. 

Leonard was also the 2014-2015 season’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was the third player to win both Finals MVP and this title, next to Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

In the next three seasons, he set new records including back-to-back Defensive of the Year award, six straight 30-point performance games, Player of the Week for the fourth time, All-NBA First Team inclusion for two years straight, All-Defensive Team First Team award for three consecutive seasons, and career-high points game after game.

The 2017-2018 season was a controversial year for Leonard’s career. He only played 27 games due to a series of injuries (right quadriceps and left shoulder). Leonard was ruled out to pursue a right quadriceps tendinopathy rehabilitation procedure. 

The Spurs medical staff, on the other hand, gave him clearance to play. Leonard sought a second opinion, and the fallout among his management, teammates and him ensued. A players-only meeting was held in March, his teammates entreating him to start playing for the team. Leonard chose not to play any more game during the season.

In 2018-2019, Leonard was traded as per his request and became the key player of the Toronto Raptors. He led the team to its first-ever NBA championship with a 4.2-second buzzer-beater show–the first in NBA history. The small forward was also named the Finals MVP.

During the playoffs, he scored 732 points and became the third best-scoring player throughout NBA history. 

To date, Leonard has played 467 games with an average 30.8 minutes per game and 17.7 points per game. About 111 of these games were playoffs.

On July 20, 2019, he signed with Los Angeles Clippers. 

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