The Miami Heat may be mired in a three-game losing streak but most league general managers think that's just a bump in the road on their way to winning the 2012 NBA title.
According to an annual NBA.com survey, 74.1 percent of GMs say the Heat will take the NBA crown this year. Perhaps more amazing is 96.3 percent of the execs say LeBron, Wade and company will win the Eastern Conference - with just 3.7 percent picking the Chicago Bulls (who currently have the best record in the conference.)
The survey's disclaimer says: "General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel. Percentages are based on the pool of respondents to each question of the survey, rather than all 30 GMs."
So, if my math is correct, that means 26 out of 27 GM's who responded think Miami will win the East while just one picked Chicago. Pretty amazing consensus. (Back in November, Vegas installed the Heat as big favorites with oddsmakers giving the Heat 9/4 odds to win the title and 1/1 odds to win the East.)
Out West, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the pick to win the conference among GMs, with 67.9 percent of the vote (the Lakers garnered 17.9 percent while Portland and San Antonio each received 7.1 percent).Interestingly, not one GM picked the defending NBA champion Mavericks to win the West, although 27.3 percent said Dallas would at least win the Southwest division.
Not surprisingly, league general managers said the Clippers were the big offseason winners. More than 85 percent said the Clips made the best moves with 100 percent naming Chris Paul as the acquisition with the "biggest impact." Two-thirds of the GMs said the Clippers would be the most improved team in the league this season. With a 7-3 record so far, that prediction seems sound.