Prior to the start of every NBA season for the last 22 years, the league’s general managers are polled on a variety of questions predicting the upcoming season. The 22nd edition of the GM survey was released this week in preparation for the start of the 2023-24 campaign. And at first glance, it appears that Anthony Davis, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers may have some bulletin board material.
The Lakers — and specifically Davis — are relatively absent from the survey. There are some glaring omissions — like Davis being in the “also receiving votes” category for best defender in the NBA — and there are some less obvious, but still notable questions.
While GMs around the league do believe the Lakers will be a strong team and a potential contender, it’s clear from the survey that the league’s top decision makers see L.A. as a step behind teams like the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Here, we’ll break down each of the categories that the Lakers are involved with, as well as go into some of the possible snubs for Davis and the entire Lakers team.
2023-24 NBA GM Survey results
Finals and standings predictions
Right off the bat, there was not one GM who responded to the survey that believes the Lakers are going to win the 2023-24 NBA championship. The Celtics and Nuggets each got 33% of the votes, with the Bucks receiving 23%, the Phoenix Suns getting 7% and the L.A. Clippers — the biggest surprise — getting 3%.
If all 30 GMs responded, that would be 10 for the Celtics and Nuggets, seven for the Bucks, two for the Suns and one for the Clippers.
The Lakers were projected to finish third in the Western Conference standings by the GMs, behind the runaway favorite Nuggets and the Suns.
Davis was placed in the “Also Receiving Votes” category for player most like to win MVP. Nikola Jokic (43%) ran away with the category, while Giannis Antetokounmpo (20%) and Jayson Tatum (13%) were also well-represented.
The Lakers did not have any players listed in two major categories, including “If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?” and “Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?”
LeBron James ranked fourth (13%) for best small forward in the NBA, behind Tatum (47%), Kevin Durant (20%) and Luka Doncic (17%). Davis did not receive votes for either the center or power forward categories, a massive snub for a perennial All-NBA talent.
The Lakers ranked fourth (13%) in the best offseason moves category, a slight show of respect for the work done by Rob Pelinka during the offseason. The Celtics and Bucks (23%) tied at the top of the category for the same transaction that sent Damian Lillard to Milwaukee and Jrue Holiday to Boston.
Gabe Vincent received votes for most underrated acquisition, with the category being won by the Memphis Grizzlies’ trade that landed them veteran defender Marcus Smart. L.A. also received votes for most improved team, a category that was unsurprisingly won by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
L.A. did not have any representation in the rookies and international category.
The defense category has arguably the worst Lakers snubs, as Davis is stunningly absent from most of the categories despite being an elite defender in all phases. Davis was in the also receiving votes category for best defender in the NBA.
The players receiving a majority of the votes were Antetokounmpo (40%), Holiday (13%), Draymond Green (10%), Smart (10%), Jaren Jackson Jr. (7%) and Kawhi Leonard (7%).
Davis finished tied for fourth with Green (13%) for best interior defender, behind Jackson (30%), Rudy Gobert (17%) and Brook Lopez (17%). Davis was completely absent from the most versatile defender category, but the Lakers also received votes for best defensive team. The Celtics (47%) won the category convincingly.
The Lakers coaching staff had zero representation of any kind in the coaches category.
The Lakers received votes, but were not one of the main teams, in the most fun team to watch category. The Nuggets (30%) got the win. The Lakers did not get any recognition for best home court advantage and most efficient offense.
They received votes for toughest to predict, a category that was rightfully won by the Philadelphia 76ers given the ongoing James Harden situation.
James ranked third (7%) for best passer behind Jokic (67%) and Luka Doncic (17%). He ranked No. 1 for best leader (27%) and second for most versatile (28%) and highest IQ (33%).