The NBA conducts a survey of the league's general managers every pre-season. This year, the survey has been expanded to include a bunch of extra questions. The Los Angeles Clippers are certainly on the minds of the league's GMs, and the team and its players are all over the survey results.
I could go through every question that has a Clipper angle and dissect it, but that would take forever. I'll just recommend that you scan the survey yourself.
I do have some high level observations. Without going through all 30 teams, it is my guess that only the NBA champion Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder appear more frequently in the survey results. By my count, the Heat or a Miami player or coach is in 38 survey results, the Thunder show up 40 times, and Clippers are mentioned 34 times.
I have to say, one or more of the GMs has an inexplicable Thunder jones: Andre Roberson for Rookie of the Year? Steven Adams for Underrated Player Acquisition? A Thunder vote for Best Overall Offseason Moves? WHAT? Take the whole thing with a grain of salt when you see stuff like that.
Despite the Clippers being on everyone's minds, they are not generally viewed as having a great chance to win it all. Then again, they did come within one vote of having the second highest total votes for NBA Champion! Of 29 votes cast, 22 were for the Heat, there were two each for the Pacers and the Spurs, and one each for the Clippers, Thunder and Bulls. There's nothing too surprising.
As for the Western Conference, I have no problem with GMs thinking that the Spurs will win the West, but as you know I would disagree with their giving a better chance to the Thunder. The voting breakdown in the West was 12 for the Spurs, 11 for the Thunder, six for the Clippers and one for the Rockets.
GMs seem to think that Doc Rivers is the second best coach in the NBA -- behind Gregg Popovich pretty much any way you slice it. I wouldn't argue with that. I was surprised to see that Rivers was singled out more for his offensive schemes than for defense.
As for players, fully seven different Clippers were mentioned in one capacity or another.
Chris Paul of course is all over the results, as the best point guard, a future coach, a great leader, a tough player, a great passer, fast with the ball, and several other places I've probably forgotten.
Blake Griffin is among the players mentioned as the best power forward, behind Tim Duncan, Kevin Love and LeBron James -- which is fine. He also received votes as best finisher at the rim and most athletic.
Speaking of which DeAndre Jordan received votes for most athletic, breakout season and ... most likely to be a coach some day? WHAT?
GMs seem to like the trade that brought J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to the Clippers: each of them received votes as the most underrated acquistion -- considering that they arrived in a single transaction, I guess that was an underrated transaction according to GMs.
Redick received recognition in another category as well -- though he did NOT get any votes as the best pure shooter. Instead, he got votes for best at moving without the ball, behind only Ray Allen. No wonder we keep hearing those comparisons. Dudley is considered among the NBA players who has done the most with the least talent.
In addition to all five starters, two Clipper reserves got votes. Super sub Jamal Crawford was mentioned as the player who is best at getting his own shot, and Matt Barnes was mentioned in the toughness category.
Finally, Alvin Gentry is considered among the best assistant coaches in the league.
So like I said, the Clippers are certainly on the minds of GMs around the league. They think the Clippers will be fun to watch; they liked the team's offseason moves; they think they'll be among the most improved teams. Interestingly, even with all of this attention, Clippers were almost never the first team or player mentioned in any category. Aside from winning the Pacific Division and Paul as the top point guard and the highest basketball IQ, the Clippers were also rans in every other category.
So basically, the GMs are thinking of them -- but not thinking of them first in most cases. We'll see.