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NBA general managers are picking the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2016 league championship, but for future success, they'd sign on with the Pelicans' Anthony Davis.

The Pelicans' 22-year-old star was the overwhelming choice of NBA GMs as the player they'd most want to build a new franchise around in the league's annual general manager poll released Tuesday.

The poll, conducted by NBA.com, asks GMs a series of questions about the league. Davis got 86.2 percent of responses to the question "If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?"

Kevin Durant and LeBron James each got 6.9 per cent of the votes. Last year, James was the top vote-getter at 50 percent.

New Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was named the new or relocated coach who will make the biggest impact this season, getting 32.1 percent of the votes to new Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan's 28.6 percent.

Davis also was the GMs' choice as the league's top power forward, getting 82.1 percent of the votes. Blake Griffin and James – who was voted the league's top small forward – each got 7.1 percent of the votes. Davis got 6.9 percent of votes for the league's top center – a position he plays only in certain lineup combinations – and tied for third in that category.

Davis finished second to the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard as the best defensive player in the NBA, getting 17.2 percent of the votes to Leonard's 27.6. He finished second to the Memphis Grizzlies' Marc Gasol by the same margin in voting for the league's best interior defender.

The Pelicans got 14.3 percent of the votes for the most-improved team in 2015-16, finishing behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and Milwaukee Bucks. General managers were asked to pick the top four teams in each conference, and the Pelicans did not receive any votes in the West.