Tom Thibodeau gets fewer best coach votes than Erik Spoelstra and other fun NBA GM Survey results

The annual NBA GM survey has been released, and as always, there's a few ridiculous votes on it. It's not surprising that NBA GMs are emotional beings with irrational thoughts, but Erik Spoelstra gets a "best coach in the NBA" vote while Tom Thibodeau does not? Come on guys.

Erik Spoelstra was on the verge of being fired because he took the most talented team in the NBA (by far) and failed to win the title once. The Heat were seriously contemplating shipping off Chris Bosh and dumping Spoelstra if they didn't pull it off last season. I guess to the victor goes the spoils, but I think you'd be hard pressed to convince me that if Spoelstra and Thibodeau were on the market that any GM is signing Spoelstra.

Tom Thibodeau was recognized by 70% of the voters as the coach with the best defensive schemes for the second season in a row. Though defense is the area where coaching makes the most difference, apparently it's not enough to land him a single vote as best coach in the NBA.

Derrick Rose unsurprisingly dropped in several categories simply because he got hurt, and people tend to forget and make an emotional reaction over that news. Rose was considered the best PG in the NBA last season and the fastest player in the open floor but ranks #2 in both categories behind Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook respectively.

Probably fair given his poor season and question marks over how he'll play after returning from ACL surgery.

The Bulls surprisingly weren't ranked in anyone's top list for underrated off-season moves or best off-season [I kid] and have fallen to second in the ranks of who will win the central division which is more than fair given the question marks they have facing this year.

When deciding how much validity to put into this survey just remember that they called the Ben Wallace signing the best move in the NBA off-season in 2006.


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  • Doug, while I would give the edge to Thibodeau over Spoelstra, I don’t think the disparity is as great as you seem to imply. In your podcast with KC Johnson several months ago, he kind of scoffed at your criticism of Spoelstra.

  • Thibs IS better than Spoelstra, but let's not get so bent out of shape. Spoelstra got 1 vote out of 30. And the reasons you argued against Spoelstra is pretty similar to the reasons you could argue against Thibs...

    1) Bulls were thinking about if they should let Thibs play out his final year and letting him walk (until pressure from everywhere set in)..

    2) Bulls were seriously contemplating whether or not to trade Deng (although they would have you believe they weren't).

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    True, though that trade for Deng to GS still interests me. Harrison Barnes is a good 3point shooter/athlete and Deng is going to want 10-12 million in his next contract. The Bulls should of pulled the trigger since they already had a veteran in Rip and others to blend with the youth. The Bulls lost a super valuable asset in Asik, letting him walk for nothing. Wonder what the two headed ninny(Garpax) will do with the Gibson situation since they love bleeding assets and are always in trade talks with teams like the Blazers who are notorious for ripping other teams off. LOL. what a joke.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I would have passed on that deal because it would have forced us to take on Biedrins.

    I would have been more interested in a Calderon+8th Pick or Calderon+DeRozan from TOR.

    I see Barnes's ceiling as Luol Deng, with maybe less defense and more offense, but even then, it would take a few years for him to develop into that kind of player.

    With DeRozan or TOR's pick, the Bulls could have or could have drafted their SG of the future: RIvers, Lamb, Ross

  • That survey is seriously flawed since we all know what a stud Thib's is!

    On a unrelated topic...why couldn't we signed Leandro Barbosa? Can we show the entire world anymore clearly that the Bulls aren't here to compete for a championship this year with how the roster was stripped? Not saying LB is like Lebron or a serious game changer like that but we could use his scoring at least off the bench!

  • In reply to smiley:

    The most we could afford is a Vet-Min deal after November (which means it would have been prorated.

    The Celtics offered Barbosa the backup role.

    The Bulls already have 4 PGs on their roster: Rose, Hinrich, Robinson, Teague

  • Thibs is by far the better coach over the Heat coach, but let be real here Doug, we all know that winning a championship makes the Heat coach that much more better than Thibs in the eyes of the national media and critics. And with the Bulls owner and managers giving Thibs basically a roster full of mediocre players this year, Spo will be the better coach over Thibs until the Bulls organization get serious about winning again. IMO Thibs and Rose will be wasting some good years over the next few years.

  • Off topic, but some interesting stats about how good the Bulls were last season at what they were good at, defense and rebounding.

    From ESPNs Hollinger

    "This was most obvious at the defensive end, where the Bulls just suffocated opponents with their persistent help, active bigs and refusal to concede a 3-point shot. The latter is an underrated factor in their excellence: Only 17.3 percent of Chicago's shots against were 3-point tries, by far the lowest rate in the league (see chart), and it's why the Bulls led the league in opponent TS percentage.

    Of course, the Bulls also led the league in opponent 2-point percentage, so you were screwed either way, and they cleaned up the misses by boarding 74.3 precent of missed shots. Perhaps the most amazing part is that, as hard as they played, Chicago had the third-lowest foul rate in the league, with only .236 opponent free throw attempts per field goal attempt. The only thing Chicago didn't do well was force turnovers.

    Lowest opponent 3-point rate, 2011-12
    Team Opp 3A/FGA
    Chicago .173
    Philadelphia .202
    Phoenix .205
    Houston .209
    San Antonio .210
    League average .226

    Causes for Chicago's defensive dominance weren't hard to find. Noah, Gibson and Asik are three of the best frontcourt defenders in basketball, while Deng is an ace wing defender and Brewer a vastly underrated pest off the bench. Throw in Thibodeau's schemes and preparation and a 12-deep roster, and there were few weak links to attack (coughBoozercough).

    Offensively, the Bulls were average in most respects but had two characteristics that lifted them above the masses. First, while they didn't shoot 3s often, they shot them well: Chicago was fourth in the league at 37.5 percent, an impressive performance for a team with only one elite shooter (Korver).

    Best Offensive Rebound Rate, 2011-12
    Team Ast/FGA
    Chicago 32.6
    Utah 30.2
    Memphis 29.8
    L.A. Clippers 29.5
    Indiana 29.2

    But mostly, the Bulls were about quantity over quality. Chicago was phenomenally good on the offensive glass, retrieving 32.6 percent of its missed shots; for comparison, the Bulls' offensive rebound rate was nearly double that of Boston's. What made this particularly amazing is that the Bulls appeared to suffer no loss in transition defense as a result of this approach. Often the best offensive rebounding teams are also bad defensively because they overcommit players to the glass, but Chicago was awesome on D.

    This fact may have some carryover into their playoff struggles. We have a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that teams with a "volume" offensive strategy, like Chicago, are more easily defended in the postseason. Of course, a more accessible explanation is that Rose, Noah and Deng all were hurt and they were facing the league's No. 3 defense."

    We shall see how much we fall off in these areas, mostly as a result of the loss of Asik.

  • and then there is this from Grantland

    "They were mocked by the insta-pundits on Twitter, but don't be shocked if we look at both these contracts as fair deals within a matter of weeks. The Rockets paying $8.3 million per season to a guy who has never averaged even 15 minutes per game seems absurd, but Asik looks to be one of the half-dozen or so best defenders in the league. Chicago's defense reached borderline unprecedented levels of stinginess whenever Asik played over the past two seasons, and though some of that had to do with Taj Gibson and facing opposing benches with regularity, Asik was a giant factor. He's huge, mobile, and smart, capable of defending at an A-plus level from above the foul line all the way to the rim. He's also a legitimate candidate to lead the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate, and has looked in the preseason like a shockingly confident offensive player — including as a passer on the move in pick-and-rolls".

    I know that I will be checking the Houston box scores every night and rooting for Asik to be among the top 3-5 rebounders in the league. In fact, I won't be shocked if he also becomes a regular in the double double category.

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