NBA.com’s annual survey of NBA GMs came out today, and as always there were some rather interesting tidbits. First off, the results signify their belief that white players try real hard because they have limited natural ability, and the man above personifies their belief. Love, who won the best offensive rebounder with 53.3% of the vote, also topped the list of “players that make the most of limited natural ability.” Of course, the rest of the list is mostly white players too. Marc Gasol finished second and since 2008, 17/21 players on this list have been fully or partially (Shane Battier!) white. Battier was third on the list this year. Of all players receiving votes in 2012, five out of the top six were fully white (Ryan Anderson, Matt Bonner and Nick Collison came in 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.). Here are the rest of the vote-getters: Roy Hibbert, Jared Dudley, Kevin Durant, Danny Green, Chuck Hayes, Kris Humphries, Paul Millsap, Steve Nash, Steve Novak, Luis Scola, Anderson Varejao.
While this poll is hilarious and somewhat insulting, it is also flawed. Kevin Love is naturally talented. “Natural ability” would appear to reference basketball talent – shooting, dribbling, basketball IQ, etc. – things specifically natural to the sport of basketball. Yet this is often confused with natural athleticism. LeBron is a freak athlete who is both naturally athletic and naturally talented. The argument can even be made that a player like Love is more talented, simply because he’s so effective in spite of an obvious athletic deficiency. Could you argue that if you were to swap LeBron James’ and Kevin Love’s athleticism, this hybrid Love would be far superior to hybrid LeBron? I think so. On the flip side, Anderson Varejao is neither naturally talented nor particularly athletic – therefore, he would seem to be the one reasonable answer to the question posed to GMs.