GMs pick Lakers to win NBA title

The Los Angeles Lakers will win the NBA title and LeBron James won't win the NBA Most Valuable Player award -- at least if a survey of NBA general managers is accurate.

The annual NBA.com GM Survey, released Wednesday, says the Lakers are the team to beat, according to 63 percent of the 28 general managers who responded.

The Miami Heat, who picked up James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade during the offseason, were picked to win by 33 percent of the respondents.

The Boston Celtics were the pick of 4 percent.

In the MVP race, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was the overwhelming pick, getting 67 percent of the votes. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers was second with 26 percent.

James, last season's league MVP, picked up just a single vote, as did Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

"LeBron's a two-time MVP, so just like the Lakers are the favorite, he's still the favorite to win MVP because you can't take it away from him until someone does," Heat guard Wade told reporters Wednesday.

Other winners included John Wall as the league's rookie of the year (68 percent); Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz as the league's best point guard (60 percent); Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Pau Gasol of the Lakers as the top power forward (29 percent); Howard as the league's top center (96 percent); James as the best small forward (68 percent); and Bryant as the top shooting guard (86 percent).

Nowitzki also was voted the top international player and Durant as the player the GMs most would like to start a franchise with. Howard was named as the league's top defensive player on 79 percent of the ballots.

Bryant (79 percent) was the pick of the GMs as the player they'd rely on to take a shot with the game on the line.

The Heat are the pick as the most improved team (39 percent), followed by the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards (14 percent).

The Thunder were picked as the "most fun team to watch" by 52 percent of the respondents, while the Jazz were picked by 46 percent as the team with the best home-court advantage.

Phil Jackson, who returned to the Lakers, was voted the league's best coach (39 percent).

Information from ESPN TrueHoop blogger Henry Abbott is included in this report.