While there is a strong buzz around town that Andrew Bynum could lead the 76ers to an Atlantic Division championship, that enthusiasm isn't shared by many league executives. In an annual poll of all 30 NBA general managers, the Sixers were chosen by only two of them to finish the season in first place.
The Boston Celtics were chosen by two-thirds of the GMs to win the Atlantic, which comes as no real shock. Despite an aging core, the C's did reach the Eastern Conference Finals last season. However, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets each received four votes, which means only two -- 6.7% -- general managers picked the Sixers to come out on top.
And while you would have to imagine one of them was Tony DiLeo, respondents were not allowed to choose their own team. That means there are actually two whole executives outside of Philly who believe. Talk about a lack of respect.
But wait, there's more! Bynum got trounced in the polls as well, in two categories no less. 28 out of 30 execs selected Dwight Howard over Bynum as the best center in the NBA, while new Lakers teammates Howard and Steve Nash split 90% of the ballots on which acquisition would make the biggest impact -- Bynum received a single vote.
It's probably fair to say Howard has earned his reputation as the best center in the league, but you could at least make a case for Bynum having a greater impact on a franchise that was lacking a credible superstar.
General managers did show some love for Doug Collins though. The Sixers head coach came in third with 13.3% of the tallies for head coach who makes the best in-game adjustments, behind San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle in Dallas. However, Collins did not receive a vote in any other coaching categories.
A slight nod to Collins doesn't make up for the biggest disappointment anyway, which of course is the league's lack of confidence in the Sixers' ability to win the division. That's probably to be expected given the fact that the status of Bynum's health is in doubt, Boston has been the team to beat for years, and there is also some stiff competition in New York.
Would you say the opinion around the NBA mirrors your own, and the Sixers are not in line for an Atlantic title this year, or do you think the poll numbers are way off base?