In an annual survey of all 30 NBA General Managers conducted by NBA.com, the Lakers were the overwhelming pick to take home the title at the end of the upcoming season. Over 46% had the Lakers finishing the year on top, far ahead of their second choice, the Boston Celtics, who were picked by just 19.2% of the respondents. 11.5% liked the New Orleans Hornets, followed by a 7.7% tie between the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.
The responses were even more weighted in the Lakers' favor when it came to the topics of the Western Conference and the Pacific Division. A whopping 66.7% picked the Lakers to win the West and return to the NBA Finals, while the second choice New Orleans Hornets received just 18.5% of the vote. And as for taking the Pacific Division title, as far as the league's GMs are concerned, it's a one horse race: 100% picked the Lakers to win the division, the only unanimous choice in the entire survey.
Now, the NBA season is a very long grind, and there are tons of things that factor into a team being able to make it through it all to win a championship. As we witnessed last night, a star player can suffer an injury anytime, and that would pretty much end any team's title hopes in an instant. There's also the consideration of players adjusting to new roles (like Lamar Odom off the bench), and getting new teammates used to playing together (like Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum). But barring any unforeseen catastrophes, with all of the talent on the Lakers' roster, it isn't difficult to see why they'd be a top choice to win it all.
The survey covered a pretty wide variety of other topics too, but one that might be of particular interest where a Laker dominated the results was this one: Which player in the NBA would you want taking a shot with the game on the line? Not surprisingly, Kobe Bryant was the pick by 88.9%.