NBA GM Poll: White Players Make The Most Of “Limited Natural Ability”
October 22 / Dylan Murphy / SportsGrid
NBA.com's annual survey of NBA GMs came out today, and as always there were some rather interesting tidbits for us fan folk to gobble up. Zach Harper of Eye On Basketball notes that Nikola Pekovic, who led the NBA in offensive rebound rate last season, didn't even receive a single vote for best offensive rebounder (his teammate, Kevin Love, won with 53.3% of the vote), and Chauncey Billups somehow got a vote for someone to take a shot with the game on the line.
But the piece of information most ripe for the picking was NBA GMs praising white players for making the most of their limited natural abilities. The question was as follows:
"Which player makes the most of limited natural ability?"
As we mentioned during last year's look at those white guys defy expectations GM circle jerk, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the three most chosen players are once again white (or at least half) - Kevin Love, Shane Battier and Marc Gasol. Since 2008, 17/21 players on this list have been fully or partially (Shane Battier!) white.
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.
Though this poll question is undoubtedly insulting and therefore hilarious, the answers seem rather backwards. "Natural ability" would appear to reference basketball talent. That is, shooting, dribbling, basketball IQ, etc. - things specifically natural to the sport of basketball. Yet often this is confused with natural athleticism. LeBron is both naturally athletic and naturally talented, whereas a player like Kevin Love is simply 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. If you were to swap LeBron James' and Kevin Love's athleticism, this hybrid Love would be far superior to hybrid LeBron.
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.
Then again, the way GMs interpreted the question, the "Hey look athletically challenged white people!" way, is much funnier.