The NBA released its 2012-13 General Manager survey Monday, featuring a variety of questions concerning the upcoming season. The Chicago Bulls were featured several times in various capacities, including coaching, defense, and best PG.
In the 2011-12 survey, the Bulls were picked by 96.4 percent of GMs to win the Central Division. That number dropped down to 20 percent this season, with the Indiana Pacers overtaking the top projected spot. Chicago was also not well represented in the Eastern Conference, largely due to the overwhelming confidence in the defending champion Miami Heat, who garnered 96.7 percent of the vote. The Boston Celtics accounted for the other 3.3 percent in the two-dog race.
In the player-specific questions, Rose was featured in the “player that forces coaches to make the most adjustments”. Rose also came in second place in the “best point guard in the NBA” question. Despite his ACL injury, it seems that GMs still have a ton of respect for the young star. Rose was also featured in both the “fastest player in the open court” and “fastest player with the ball” sections.
Taj Gibson received votes in the “breakout season” section, with front offices around the league apparently seeing the potential in the Bulls forward. Gibson is due for a contract extension, and could hit the market as a restricted free agent should the Bulls not extend him.
Oft-injured guard Rip Hamilton was also featured in the “best at moving without the ball” section. Former Bull Kyle Korver also graced this list, and Hamilton will look to stay healthy and continue to open up the Chicago offense with hard cuts and constant motion all over the court.
Perhaps the most interesting Bull featured on the list was Nikola Mirotic, who was listed second on the “best international player not in the NBA” question. Mirotic could be a huge asset to Chicago down the road, but the sharpshooting forward isn’t expected to join the team until 2014.
Chicago was also recognized for its impeccable defensive play, getting 40 percent of the vote for “best defensive team in the NBA”. Tom Thibodeau‘s defense has stifled offenses for two years straight, though the team’s rating could take a hit this year with the loss of several key pieces.
Thibodeau was recognized personally for defense, running away with the category of “coach with best defensive schemes” with 70 percent of the vote. Surprisingly, the 2010-11 Coach of the Year was not featured on the “best head coach” list, which in my opinion is a huge snub. The Bulls have had the best record in the NBA two years in a row, largely due to the genius of Thibodeau.
Zach Mink covers the Chicago Bulls for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zachmink12 for more news and analysis.