GM predictions: Clippers will be 2020 NBA champs

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(Reuters) — The Los Angeles Clippers will win the 2019-20 NBA title, 46 percent of league general managers said in the 18th annual NBA.com GM Survey.

The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard also was selected by GMs as the offseason acquisition most likely to make the biggest impact, and they named him the league’s best small forward.

It’s the first time since 2005 that someone other than LeBron James has gotten the most votes in that category.

In all, the general managers answered 50 questions pertaining to the upcoming season.

Trailing the Clippers as the favorite to win the 2020 NBA Finals were the Milwaukee Bucks (36 percent of votes) and the Los Angeles Lakers (11 percent). Last year, the Golden State Warriors captured 87 percent of the votes.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks was the overwhelming favorite to win a second straight league MVP award with 52 percent of the vote. Tied for second, each with 10 percent, were Stephen Curry of the Warriors, Anthony Davis of the Lakers and Leonard.

Antetokounmpo also won the voting as the player general managers would want if building a team from scratch (86 percent), best power forward (59 percent) and best international player (79 percent).

Among the general managers, 68 percent thought Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans would win NBA Rookie of the Year, with the same amount predicting he’d be the best NBA player from the Class of 2019 five years from now.