The NBA GM survey is, simply put, a must-read every year. NBA's John Schuhmann compiles votes from each of the 30 NBA general managers on 49 different questions pertaining to the league.
Still, the survey is hardly fail-proof, and plenty changes in the course of a calendar year. Consider that last season Joakim Noah was voted the best defensive player in the NBA, Doug McDermott was voted the draft's second biggest steal at No. 11, and Jimmy Butler received zero votes when the 30 GMs were asked which played was most likely to have a breakout campaign; six months later he hoisted the NBA's Most Improved Player award.
Below are the questions in which the Bulls or a player from the Bulls received votes. Here's a link to the entire survey and its results. Again, it's must-read stuff every year.
Rank the top four teams in the Eastern Conference:
Analysis: Few surprises here. Despite their myriad injuries, the Cavaliers are the unquestioned favorites in the East. In fact, more than half the voters (53.6%) chose the Cavaliers to win the 2015-16 NBA title. The Bulls received zero votes in that category, with San Antonio, Golden State and Oklahoma City rounding out the list. Miami brought back Goran Dragic, gets back Chris Bosh and looks primed to contend with Atlanta, Washington and Toronto for the No. 3 seed in the East. Milwaukee is only getting better, though it's a stretch to consider them the second best team in the East.
Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?
1. James Harden, Houston (79.3%)
2. Klay Thompson, Golden State (10.3%)
Also receiving votes: Jimmy Butler, Chicago; Stephen Curry, Golden State; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
Analysis: What a year for Butler, who 12 months ago couldn't find his name anywhere on this list, let alone receiving a vote over Harden and Thompson as the game's best shooting guard.
What was the most surprising move of the offseason?
Also receiving votes: Tom Thibodeau fired
Analysis: Fair to assume Gar Forman didn't submit his vote for this one. Thibodeau's firing was the only of the 10 "moves" that was not player-related. DeAndre Jordan flip-flopping back to the Clippers received 24.1 percent of the vote, while Greg Monroe bypassing larger markets for Milwaukee received 20.7 percent of the vote.
Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft?
1. Justise Winslow (10), Miami (31.0%)
2. Bobby Portis (22), Chicago (24.1%)
3. Emmanuel Mudiay (7), Denver (20.7%)
4. Myles Turner (11), Indiana (6.9%)
Analysis: Gar Forman and Fred Hoiberg meant it on draft night when they said they were shocked Portis was available at No. 22. The SEC Player of the Year has shown why in preseason, too, averaging 12.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game. He may not show it in Year 1 because of the Bulls' depth, but Portis absolutely was a steal so late in the draft.
Who is the best international player in the NBA?
1. Marc Gasol, Memphis (62.1%)
2. Pau Gasol, Chicago (17.2%)
3. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (10.3%)
4. Tony Parker, San Antonio (6.9%)
5. Goran Dragic, Miami (3.4%)
Analysis: Spain, led by the Gasol brothers (and Nikola Mirotic), was also selected as the country most likely to challenge the U.S. for an Olympic/World Cup gold medal in the next 10 years. Marc and Pau had similar years in 2014-15, with both earning All-NBA First Team honors. The rankings here aren't surprising, however, considering Marc (30) is five years younger than Pau (35).
Who is the best perimeter defender in the NBA?
1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (44.8%)
2. Tony Allen, Memphis (17.2%)
3. Jimmy Butler, Chicago (10.3%)
3. LeBron James, Cleveland (10.3%)
Analysis: More stellar company for Butler to be placed in, trailing only the Defensive Player of the Year in Leonard and a perennial All-NBA Defensive Team defender in Allen in this category. Earning as many votes as the world's best player is never a bad thing, either.
Which is the best defensive team in the NBA?
1. Golden State (58.6%)
2. Memphis (34.5%)
Also receiving votes: Chicago, Cleveland
Analysis: The Thibs effect? A year ago the Bulls were the overwhelming favorite in this category, earning nearly 86 percent of the vote. Chicago, however, ranked just 11th in defensive efficiency (the first time it had ranked outside the top-5 under Thibodeau) and replaced Thibodeau with the offensive-minded Fred Hoiberg. Still, with Butler, Noah and Gasol in the mix, the Bulls should remain in the top half of the league in defense this upcoming year.
Which new (or relocated) coach will make the biggest impact this season?
1. Alvin Gentry, New Orelans (32.1%)
2. Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City (28.6%)
3. Fred Hoiberg, Chicago (17.9%)
4. Scott Skilss, Orlando (10.7%)
5. George Karl, Sacramento (7.1%)
6. Mike Malone, Denver (3.6%)
Analysis: The three coaches who enter jobs with contending teams lead the way, with Gentry expected to help take Anthony Davis to the next level of super-stardom in New Orleans. Oklahoma City has had a championship-caliber roster for years, never being able to get over the hump with Scott Brooks, giving Billy Donovan an excellent chance to do just that with a healthy Kevin Durant. Hoiberg, meanwhile, will look to give the Bulls a distinct offensive identity as they try and figure out a way to get past LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Who is the best assistant in the NBA?
Also receiving votes: Jim Boylen, Chicago
Analysis: Boylen is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in the NBA, having been a part of Indiana's league-best defensive units as well as the perennially-solid Spurs defenses the last two years.
Which active player will make the best head coach someday?
Also receiving votes: Kirk Hinrich, Chicago
Analysis: Hinrich received votes in this category for the second consecutive offseason, though he said last year he has no plans to go into coaching once his career is over.
Jimmy Butler received votes as the player who moves best without the ball; Nikola Mirotic received votes as the bench player who makes the biggest impact when he enters the game; both Butler and Joakim Noah received votes as the league's toughest players
Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin weighs in on Bulls-Cavs
Kurt Helin isn't confident 2015 is the year the Bulls get past LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the playoffs, but is looking forward to Fred Hoiberg's modern, motion offense that should be entertaining to watch.
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