Every year NBA.com sends out a survey to the general managers of each team in the NBA with questions about who they think will win the championship, who will win MVP, and questions like that. This year there were fewer surprises than usual. Golden State received 93% of the vote when asked which team will win the 2018 NBA Finals. LeBron James was voted most likely to win the MVP. To no one’s surprise, GMs seem to agree with just about every casual fan on the planet on the big picture questions. But there was one survey question that produced an interesting result: What was the most underrated player acquisition?
24% of GMs answered Paul Millsap. Avery Bradley was the second most popular answer with 17% of the vote.
There were a lot of high-profile acquisitions this summer and most of those teams and players have received a lot of national publicity. As is always the case with the Denver Nuggets, the Millsap signing has mostly flown under the radar. He’s a four-time all star, a former all-defensive team player, and the best player on a very good playoff team yet he isn’t a household name for most casual fans. His below the rim style of play doesn’t land him on SportsCenter’s Top 10 list very often. In other words, he’s the perfect star for Denver.
Nikola Jokic also came in 2nd in the “who is the best international player,” ranking only behind Milwaukee’s Giannis Antentokounmpo. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris each received a vote for player most likely to break out this season and Jameer Nelson received a vote for current player that will make a great head coach one day. Jokic also received a vote for best center in the NBA and Millsap received a vote for which new acquisition will make the biggest impact.
As a team, the Nuggets also came in 3rd in the “which team is the most fun to watch” poll, behind the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. They received a vote for best home court advantage. And they received a vote for most improved team in 2017-18.
Taken as a whole, it seems clear that at least some of the GMs around the league are pretty optimistic about Denver’s upcoming season and about the prospects of their young core going forward. You can read the entire survey results right here.