All but two of the league's 30 general managers responded to the fifth annual NBA.com survey. They also picked Portland's Brandon Roy as the rookie of the year, Pat Riley of Miami as the best coach and Kobe Bryant as the player they want taking a shot with the game on the line.
The Spurs won the 2005 NBA championship but lost to Dallas in last season's Western Conference semifinals. San Antonio was picked by 43 percent of the GMs to regain the title, with the Mavericks getting 29 percent and reigning champion Miami earning 14 percent.
However, the Spurs weren't even predicted to win their own division. The Mavs were the pick as Southwest Division champs by 57 percent of the GMs, with San Antonio at 43 percent.
Other division champion picks were Miami (Southeast), New Jersey (Atlantic), Detroit (Central), Denver (Northwest) and Phoenix (Pacific).
With 39 percent of the vote, James beat out fellow U.S. captain Dwyane Wade (29 percent) as the MVP choice. James was also the choice of 71 percent of the GMs as the player they would want to sign if they were starting a franchise.
Full results of the survey will be available on NBA.com on Wednesday.