NBA GMs think the Lakers, Heat, LeBron James and Dwight Howard are good

'They like me, they really like me [again]!' (Getty Images)

The annual GM poll is out this morning, and it features such amazing surprises as "GMs think that Dwight Howard is the best center!" and "They think the Lakers will win the Western Conference!" It's truly earth-shattering stuff. 

Let's go through some of it. 

Which team will win the 2013 NBA Finals?

1. Miami -- 70.0%

2. L.A. Lakers -- 23.3%

3. Oklahoma City -- 6.7%

Last year: Miami -- 74.1%

via GM Survey: LeBron and Heat the faves, but look out for L.A. |

GMs will always tend to side with the reigning champ if they haven't blown up the team or suffered a major injury. With LeBron James considered the best player in the league, this is also the logical conclusion. The fact that OKC, the Western conference champion, has slipped to 6.7 percent is pretty devastating, and the Heat's erosion shows the perception of the Lakers. That's even more evident when you look at: 

Which team will win the Western Conference?

1. L.A. Lakers -- 60.0 percent

2. Oklahoma City -- 36.7 percent

3. Denver -- 3.3 percent 

Last year: Oklahoma City -- 67.9 percent

Oklahoma City's chances of winning its conference, not the title, its conference, have been nearly cut in half. There's been a lot of talk about how Oklahoma City is still the favorite and is still possibly better than LA. The GMs do not agree, and that's pretty clear. 

And if you were wondering if the execs were still big on LeBron...

Who will win the 2012-13 MVP?

1. LeBron James, Miami -- 66.7%

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?

1. LeBron James, Miami -- 80.0 percetn

Which player forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments?

1. LeBron James, Miami -- 50.0 percent

Yeah, that's pretty big. 

Kobe Bryant maintains his strangehold on "best shooting guard" and Chris Paul took point guard, Kevin Love power forward, and every GM except Mitch Kupchak (can't vote for your own player) and one other GM voted for Dwight Howard as best center. I tell you, it's a golden age of big men we live in. 

OK, OK, you want something actually interesting? Kobe Bryant has been knocked off the perch of clutch shooter. 

Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line?

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City -- 46.7 percent

2. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers -- 40.0 percent

3. Carmelo Anthony, New York -- 6.7 percent

In reality, Bryant needs to be much lower on the list. You can talk about all the ones you've seen him hit, but the facts, not some sort of mystical formula, the actual facts, show that Bryant hit about 1 out of every 3 shots late in the game in a tight contest. That's just not good. But then again, Durant wasn't substantially better. He was just above 40 percent in the final two minutes in a five-point game. 

We can talk about whether clutch actually exists, or if it matters, and there are points to be made on either side. But perception doesn't match reality here. Maybe it doesn't need to, but regardless, it doesn't.

Oh, here's a fun one.

Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?

1. Kevin Love, Minnesota -- 34.5 percent

2. Shane Battier, Miami -- 10.3 percent

3. Marc Gasol, Memphis -- 6.9 percent

Also receiving votes: Ryan Anderson, New Orleans; Matt Bonner, San Antonio; Nick Collison, Oklahoma City; Roy Hibbert, Indiana; Jared Dudley, Phoenix; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City; Danny Green, San Antonio; Chuck Hayes, Sacramento; Kris Humphries, Brooklyn; Paul Millsap, Utah; Steve Nash, L.A. Lakers; Steve Novak, New York; Luis Scola, Phoenix; Anderson Varejao, Cleveland

Last year: Kevin Love -- 26.9%

via GM Survey: LeBron and Heat the faves, but look out for L.A. |

Is it just me or did it get paler in here?

But maybe this is the best example of just how much trolling the GMs are doing, with their second-biggest response here:

Which team has the best home-court advantage?

1. Oklahoma City -- 70.0 percent

2. Miami -- 10.0%, Utah -- 10.0 percent

Also receiving votes: Denver, L.A. Lakers, Portland

Last year: Oklahoma City -- 44.4 percent

via GM Survey: LeBron and Heat the faves, but look out for L.A. |

Miami, second best home-court advantage. 

I do not think that phrase means what you think it means. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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