NBA GMs have poor record predicting MVP in the annual preseason survey

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NBA GMs have poor record predicting MVP in the annual preseason survey


NBA GMs have poor record predicting MVP in the annual preseason survey

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The annual GM survey consistently produces fascinating results. However, it does not often yield particularly accurate predictions.

Each general manager is asked a series of questions that range from, “Which team will win the NBA Finals?” to, “Who is the best international player NOT in the NBA?” Executives are not allowed to vote for anyone on their team so as to maintain unbiased integrity. Answers are published anonymously to not give away the identity of these influential voters.

Of course, insight into the opinions of the most powerful folks in the league has value. But the preseason poll also shows us that though they supposedly have the best minds in the business, no one can see the future.

When looking back at the previous 17 editions of the poll, only four times have more than a quarter of GMs correctly guessed the Most Valuable Player.

Similarly, the player receiving the most votes in the survey has actually won MVP just three times. Each of these instances was in a season when LeBron James has taken home the hardware. That means that in the 17 years that has published this survey, they have only correctly predicted one player as Most Valuable Player. 

James has actually been the most popular pick 11 times in the 17 polls. After actually winning the award in 2019, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo broke a seven-year streak by James for most votes in the preseason poll.

Before he won MVP last season, Antetokounmpo received just one vote (3.3 percent) from a rival GM in the preseason prediction.

But there have been four seasons in which the eventual MVP did not receive a single vote from GMs before their campaign began. Steve Nash (2006 and 2007), Derrick Rose (2011) and Stephen Curry (2015) all won without any mention in the preseason list.

Other unexpected winners include Kevin Garnett (4.8 percent) in 2004, James Harden (7.0 percent) in 2017 and Curry (7.1 percent) in 2016.

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