Every year, the NBA sends out a survey to the 30 GM's in the league, with questions ranging from who is the best new acquisition to who is the most exciting team in the league. After an exciting off-season, the Rockets predictably ranked fairly high in a number of categories. The entire survey is worth a read, but we'll talk about where the Rockets figured into the rankings here.
That Shooting Guard and Center combo
If there was any doubt that James Harden was well-regarded in the league, it should be gone after the results of the GM survey were released. Harden is just 24, and a year after he received was barely named in the survey, he leads the race for the NBA's top shooting guard, receiving 56.7% of the vote (17 votes), besting Kobe Bryant (6 votes), Steph Curry, Paul George, Kevin Durant (2 votes each), and Dwyane Wade (1 vote).
This rating reflects a reality that at the shooting guard spot, the past leaders are fading because of injuries and age, and there is really only one heir apparent to take over the throne. That isn't to say that Harden's meteoric rise hasn't been incredible, but unless Victor Oladipo explodes in the next few years, it appears to be Harden's spot for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the GM's ranked Dwight Howard as the top center in the league for the sixth year in a row, receiving 65.5% of the vote (19 of 29 votes). Marc Gasol was his main competition, getting 6 votes, and Tim Duncan and Roy Hibbert also received votes. Unlike the past race, this one could turn into a dogfight over the next few years as Marc Gasol just continues to improve and Howard in need of a bounceback season. Gasol improved dramatically last year on the defensive end of the floor, and if Howard cannot return to form athletically, Gasol's combination of size and skill could pass up the Rockets' big man.
If you're keeping score at home, the Rockets now have the top shooting guard and the top center in the league, with both in their 20's and both under contract for at least three more years. Get excited people.
Where else did the Rockets appear?
Which team made the best overall moves this offseason?
1. Houston -- 55.2%
2. Brooklyn -- 24.1%
3. L.A. Clippers -- 10.3%
Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?
1. Dwight Howard, Houston -- 86.2%
Also receiving votes: Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn; Jrue Holiday, New Orleans; Paul Millsap, Atlanta; Josh Smith, Detroit
Last year: Dwight Howard -- 70.0%
Which team will be most improved in 2013-14?
1. Detroit -- 16.7%
2. Brooklyn, Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota, New Orleans, Washington -- 13.3%
8. L.A. Clippers -- 3.3%
Which team will win the Southwest Division?
1. San Antonio -- 70.0%
2. Houston -- 30.0%
What was the most surprising move of the offseason?
1. Nets-Celtics trade; Andre Iguodala to Golden State -- 21.4%
3. Andrei Kirilenko to Brooklyn -- 14.3%
4. Dwight Howard to Houston -- 10.7%
5. Jrue Holiday to New Orleans; Doc Rivers to the Clippers -- 7.1%
Who is the best defensive player in the NBA?
1. Dwight Howard, Houston -- 34.5%
2. LeBron James, Miami -- 27.6%
3. Tony Allen, Memphis -- 13.8%
4. Andre Iguodala, Golden State -- 6.9%
Who is the best interior defender in the NBA?
1. Dwight Howard, Houston -- 46.7%
2. Joakim Noah, Chicago -- 16.7%
3. Marc Gasol, Memphis; Roy Hibbert, Indiana; Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City -- 10.0%
Which head coach runs the best offense?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio -- 37.9%
2. Rick Adelman, Minnesota -- 20.7%
3. Kevin McHale, Houston -- 10.3%
4. Mike D'Antoni, L.A. Lakers; Erik Spoelstra, Miami -- 6.9%
My favorite out of all of these has to be that Dwight Howard was named the top acquisition of the summer for the second year in a row. It is also worth noting that despite a down season on that end of the floor, Dwight Howard remains the GM's top pick as defensive player overall and in the paint.
That's pretty high praise from some of the most educated basketball minds in the country.