Harden: 'We have a real close bond already'
The Houston Rockets got a lot of recognition from the NBA’s 30 General Managers in the annual GM survey conducted by nba.com. They were hit with 56 different questions ranging from championship predictions to top rookies to which player makes the most of limited natural ability.
Here’s where the Rockets got some love. Just four teams received votes to win the western conference. The Rockets got one vote, the Spurs were the top choice with 12 of the 30 votes. The Spurs also got the nod to win the Southwest division with 70 percent of the votes, the Rockets received the remaining 30 percent.
James Harden was voted as the league’s best shooting guard with 56.7 percent of the vote, easily outpacing Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry among others. Harden also received votes as the player most likely to have a breakout season this year. If he has a breakout season this year, after earning third team all-NBA honors last year – then wow – is he going to be special this year!
No surprise that Dwight Howard was voted the best center in the league, although interesting to note he received 65.5 percent of the vote, after being a nearly unanimous choice last year at 93.3 percent of the vote. He was also voted best defensive player and best interior defender.
Best overall moves and acquisition that will make the biggest impact both went to Houston. Slightly more than half the GMs (55.2 percent) said the Rockets made the best overall moves and 86.2 percent thought Howard would have the biggest impact among players acquired this offseason.
Houston received 13.3 percent of the vote to be the most improved team this year, just behind Detroit (16.7 percent).
Kevin McHale and the coaching staff got some run, too. McHale received votes for best in-game adjustments, and was voted third for the head coach that runs the best offense. (The coach he replaced, Rick Adelman, finished second.) Two of the Rockets assistant coaches, Kelvin Sampson and J.B. Bickerstaff both received votes for best assistant coach. Both were involved in discussion for available head coaching vacancies this offseason and keeping them on staff has been an under-discussed offseason development for the Rockets.