Ball Don't Lie - NBA

NBA.com will release the results of its eighth annual survey of the league's general managers in about, oh, 30 minutes. But if you're feeling a little peckish and can't wait to devour some GM predictions, here's a cheat sheet and sneak peek, courtesy of the Yahoo! Sports gurus.

The basic shakedown is this: A majority of GMs believe that the Lakers will repeat as NBA champions for the seventh time in their history, and that LeBron James(notes) will earn his second straight MVP award. (Way to go out on a limb there, gentlemen.)

More than 70 percent believe that the Spurs — with the additions of Richard Jefferson(notes) and, um, Antonio McDyess(notes) and DeJuan Blair(notes), I guess — did the most to improve their team this summer.

And even though 17.3 percent believe the Magic made the best moves of the offseason, only 7.1 percent believe Dwight Howard(notes) and friends will make a return trip to The Finals.

Anyway, below are some select results from this year's survey. The entire bubble sheet (60 questions in all) will be posted on NBA.com at noon. Let's hope Mike Dunleavy had a pencil on him this time around — that blue crayon made one hell of a mess last October.

Which team will win NBA Finals 2010?
1. L.A. Lakers — 60.7%
2. Boston — 17.9%
2. Cleveland — 17.9%
4. San Antonio — 3.6%
(Last year: L.A. Lakers — 46.2%)

Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
1. Boston — 50.0%
2. Cleveland — 42.9%
3. Orlando — 7.1%
(Last year: Boston — 74.1%)

Which team will win the Western Conference?
1. L.A. Lakers — 75.9%
2. San Antonio — 24.1%
(Last year: L.A. Lakers — 66.7%)

Who will win the 2009-10 MVP?
1. LeBron James — 69.0%
2. Kobe Bryant(notes) — 17.2%
3. Dwight Howard — 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Tim Duncan(notes); Dwyane Wade(notes)
(Last year: LeBron James — 55.6%)

Which team made the best overall moves this summer?
1. San Antonio — 71.2%
2. Orlando — 17.3%
Also receiving votes: Cleveland, Toronto, Washington
(Last year: Philadelphia — 51.9%)

Which team will be most improved in 2009-10?
1. Washington — 48.3%
2. L.A. Clippers — 17.2%
3. Oklahoma City — 13.8%
4. Toronto — 6.9%
Also receiving votes: Boston, Memphis, Minnesota, San Antonio
(Last year: Miami, Portland 25.9%)

Who will win the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year?
1. Blake Griffin(notes) — 79.3%
2. Jonny Flynn(notes) — 10.3%
3. Tyreke Evans(notes) — 6.9%
4. Stephen Curry(notes) — 3.4%
(Last year: Michael Beasley(notes) — 48.1%)

Who is the best defensive player in the NBA?
1. Dwight Howard — 46.4%
2. Ron Artest(notes) — 17.9%
2. Kevin Garnett(notes) — 17.9%
4. Kobe Bryant — 7.1%
Also receiving votes: Trevor Ariza(notes); Shane Battier(notes); Rajon Rondo(notes)
(Last year: Kevin Garnett — 44.4%)

Who is the best head coach in the NBA?
1. Phil Jackson, L.A. Lakers — 37.0%
2. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio — 33.3%
3. Jerry Sloan, Utah — 18.5%
Also receiving votes: Rick Adelman, Houston; Larry Brown, Charlotte; Stan Van Gundy, Orlando
(Last year: Gregg Popovich — 53.8%)

Note: General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. 

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