The Bulls are underdogs, who knew?

I'm not sure how many GMs actually respond to the media survey, and how many teams simply have an intern do it. Nor am I too certain that those who respond do so with a whole lot of honesty.

How else do you explain answers like DeAndre Jordan getting a vote for best future coaching candidate out of current players?

That said, the survey generally seems to have fairly reasonable answers. The Heat are predicted to win the championship. LeBron's the best player in the NBA, and the Pacers are better than the Bulls.

Wait, what?

That's right, the Pacers, whom Derrick Rose doesn't even consider a rival, are viewed by more than half the GMs as the team most likely to win the NBA's central division next season. Granted, the Bulls did get one vote to win the championship which was one more than Indiana.

Derrick Rose received 20% of the best PG votes behind Chris Paul's 70%. He also received a vote or two in a half dozen or so other categories, all of which were different ways of saying "how bad ass is this dude?" (fastest with the ball, shot creation, best in the open floor, best finisher etc..)

Joakim Noah came in second to Dwight Howard for best interior defender, Mike Dunleavy got a couple nods for most underrated off-season acquisition, and Loul Deng got some votes for best off the ball movement.

Chicago scored a few more votes related to their defense (Thibs notched a best defensive coach, and the team was voted best defensive team), and that about wrapped it up for Chicago's appearance on the big board.

Not surprisingly, Miami and LeBron James swept (and deservedly so) the majority of the awards. When you're the best team and best player in the NBA that's going to happen.

I don't take much from the survey given that it once predicted Ben Wallace was the best signing in the off-season, but the thing about the Pacers shows that either the people filling these things out underrate the Bulls or simply don't think Chicago will stay healthy.

Quite simply, if both teams are healthy, Chicago is on a different tier than Indiana. Call me crazy, but I like the Bulls odds of beating the Heat more than the Pacers odds of beating the Bulls, and the Bulls odds of beating Miami stink. Maybe the results are simply a nod to the fact that the Bulls will likely be decimated by injuries again.

Maybe people simply want to show Indiana some respect since they won the division last season and played Miami tough in the playoffs. Maybe the survey was taken before Derrick Rose started MVPing teams in preseason and showed not only is he back, but he's taking it personally.

That said, it's good for the Bulls to get some disrespect. Every coach loves to dip in the "no one believes in you!" well once in awhile to get some motivation and more than half the league picking the Pacers over Chicago lends at least a shred of credibility to that argument.

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  • I dunno, I hate the Pacers with a burning passion, but I think you may be underrating them just a bit. Sure, I'm a little surprised the GM's didn't pick the Bulls to win the central, but Rose hasn't played in over a year, and the survey was probably taken before the preseason. Plus Indiana's seven game series with the Heat is still fresh in everyone's mind.

    But besides all that, Indiana is really good. They were the best defensive team in the league last year. They got Granger back, and they added some depth with Watson and Scola. It's not exactly an insult for people to think they can be at the Bulls level (particularly when the Bulls haven't been a dominant team since two seasons ago). I really hope you're right, though.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    People have vastly overrated the Pacers due to the team taking the Heat to a game 7. First, a team did not need to be at all special to make it to the ECF last year provided it was in the opposite bracket of the Heat. A team merely needed to be competent, which the Pacers were. Second, getting to a game 7 does not necessarily imply that a series is close. It may mean that, but it does not have to. In the case of the Pacers/Heat ECF series last year, any time the Heat were put in a "must win" situation they won the game handily. Frankly, the Pacers were not competitive in those games. I dearly wanted the Pacers to win that series, but once they got spanked in game 3 at home the series was over.

    Granted, the Pacers have done better than the Bulls have against the Heat in the post-season so I have to give them props for that, but my main point here is that thinking that the Pacers made it to a game 7 against the Heat means that series was close is totally off base. That series was about as one-sided as a 7-game series could be.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    If getting MIA to a Game 7 doesn't mean you're close (close enough), then I don't know the definition of close. I guess SAS isn't close to MIA either then.

    Juicebox isn't saying IND is better than MIA, he's not even saying they're close, he's just saying people have underrated the Pacers, especially us Bulls fans.

    This sorta reminds me like 3 years ago when we faced them in the first round. We beat them in 5, the games were tough and close, but we would discard of them as not in our same league. Then we faced MIA in the ECF, we played them tough and close, lost in 5, but somehow we were in the same league as MIA. And if only a few things happen, we could have beat them.

    I never understood this other than the bias we hold for them. Like Juicebox, I'm not saying IND is better than MIA, Im not even saying they're better than us. I'm just saying they are legit contenders and should be viewed as such.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Please read my comment again. Notice I didn't compare the Pacers to the Bulls, except to say that the Pacers had done better in their series against the Heat than the Bulls have done in theirs against the Heat. I don't know where the Pacers stand viz-a-viz the Bulls, but I do know that the Pacers are not close to the Heat, and I repeat my claim that last year's ECF was one of the most lop-sided 7-game series one could imagine. The Heat was never in danger of losing it. Therefore, anyone extrapolating what the Pacers might do this year based on "they took the Heat to 7 games" is way overstating their case. So I would argue, if anything, people are over-rating the Pacers, not under-rating them as you claim.

    Contrast that to the NBA Finals. The Heat was genuinely in danger of losing that series, and in fact was one SAS defensive rebound away from in fact doing so. Now that was a competitive series.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    In the regular season, the Pacer were also only 4 games better than a Bulls team decimated by injuries. Obviously it's playoffs that matter; but I think the Pacers just match up better with the Heat. That's probably a good thing for them, seeing the Heat are the favorites, but they may never see the Heat this next postseason if the Pacers must get through another team first (i.e. Bulls/Nets), that they maybe don't match up with as well.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I agree on Indy, I think that Doug has a bit of a personal animus when it comes to Indy vs the Bulls. I think that it is a 50/50 series in the playoffs, with the Bulls biggest/only advantage being Rose back to being Rose or better yet 96MJ, which I think we should make the theme of this season if it persists into the regular season.

    The survey only had the Pacers beating out the Bulls for the central crown 51.7% to 48.3% which is one half of one vote out of 30 GM's(15.5 to 14.5), which means that somebody did actually split his vote.

  • I would also show Rose the part about everyone saying Chris Paul is a better PG. GMs and sports outlets have been dying for years to declare Chris Paul the best PG in the NBA. They are going to pour the "Chris Paul is the best" sauce on thick since they basically only had one year to pour it and that year is coming to an end.

    Everyone likes Paul because he's more the pure, classic PG who runs the offense and distributes the ball, makes a lot of flashy steals on the defensive end, and is obviously a great player.

    But Rose is better at both ends of the floor.

  • Here is an impartial opinion from a Heat fan. The Bulls are better than the Pacers, but the difference is only slight. It seems to me that Doug is underrating Indiana. While Indiana’s superstar is not as good as Chicago’s, Indiana has a better low post threat to bother Miami, wing defenders on a par with Chicago, a badass power forward who can both score and defend, and what now appears to be a good bench. I still give the edge to Chicago, but it’s close.

  • In reply to RichG:

    I think Indiana matches up better against the Heat than the Bulls due to their size and interior scoring. From a pure talent standpoint I like the Bulls more than the Pacers but not sure I would go as far as Doug and say they are in a different tier. Bulls have good bigs but their strengths don't exploit Miami's weaknesses as to where Indy's do. That is a huge advatage they have over Chicago when playing the Heat. I would favor Chicago to beat Indy in a series though as I think they don't matchup well against us.

  • In reply to RichG:

    It's not close. In the words of the great Rasheed Wallace - "Ball don't lie", just you watch. Miami - Chicago is closer

  • I think the criticism/doubt comes from the Bulls not having a second reliable scorer. Deng and Boozer need to show up in the deep playoff runs and be consistent, something that the pacers like david west and hibbert have done to add to their star player of paul george. Look, it all comes back to Deng and Boozer being the compliments to Rose since he can't do it all himself and thats where I think the GMs have their major doubts. The Bulls play a hard physical game with great defense and rebounding but they don't think much of our offense outside of Rose. Can Jimmy Butler be that X factor and will his offense progress? or is he simply a taller tony allen type. There's still alot of unknown for the bulls, its the same concerns many of us bulls fans have had about having a mediocre offense in the past. The offense looks more explosive this year with getting to the line, great ball and player movement and the 3pt shooting is getting better but we'll see.

  • The thing that really blew me away in this survey was how Popovich was considered the best coach even after his screw-ups in game six of the Finals last year. I probably shouldn't be surprised as people will often "circle the wagons" to protect and sustain the conventional wisdom of a sports figure. Want an example closer to home? People who insisted Tyrus Thomas would be a star even after three years of mediocre performance, juvenile behavior, and a basketball IQ off the charts (on the low end, that is).

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    Looking at it from an outsiders point of view, I can see how GM's would come to certain conclusions. CP3 better than Rose? I'm a Homer, so I don't think so, but when you look @ what they both can do for their respective teams, I can see how CP3 would be ranked higher. Rose has to do more than score. Heck! Damian Lillard can score, and he doesn't get nearly as much pub as Derrick Rose. Indiana better than the Bulls? Last yrs record says so, and the additions that Indy obtained during the off season would cause a GM to pick them above the Bulls. The Bulls added Mike Dunleavy, and a couple of rooks. They also parted ways w/ big timers Nate Robinson, and Marco Belinelli. I'm for the Bulls, but let's not be fooled about Indy's championship potential. They're a really good team.
    The beauty of this season is proving the doubters wrong. Bulls will finish 1st, and finally defeat the Heat in a playoff series. See you in June...Go Bulls!

  • There is nothing ridiculous about Indiana being picked ahead of Bulls. They were ahead of Bulls last year and Rose is coming back from an ACL so in many coaches eyes that could be viewed as an unknown. And it was Indiana who took Miami to 7 games, not Chicago who lost in 5 to Miami - so give Pacers their props.

    I also think Doug is placing too much emphasis on the preseason - it matters far less than the regular season, and both matter far less than the playoffs.

    Yes, I think Bulls are better than Pacers, but its not absurd to think the reverse.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Now that I've read the entire survey two things pop-out:
    The vote for who will win the Central is Pacers 51.7% to Bulls $48.3%. What is there to quibble over? It's basically a tie!

    On a positive note: Best International Player NOT in the NBA?
    No. 1 Nikola Mirotic with 25% of the vote.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I saw that too but, unfortunately, I was unimpressed as Rudy Fernandez was close behind Mirotic. IMO, Rudy is barely an NBA player at this point in his career.

  • In reply to Edward:

    No, it's absurd, people forget how good Rose is. It's not about the preseason, it's about the future upcoming season. No looking back at the past. Rose is healthy & he's got a new backcourt mate.

  • Pipe dream trade. Boozer and Charlotte pick for Gallo, Arthur, and Faried. That would be epic!

  • so tired of the chris paul junk...rose eats the dude for lunch every time they have played...chris paul couldnt guard me...good insurance commercial

  • I'll remember this survey when Derrick eviscerates Chris Paul on November 24th. I'm sure Derrick will too. What a joke. Derrick is back to being Derrick, and he has owned CPIII on the court time and time again.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Haha so true. I can't wait.

  • A lot of these comments are funny. Indiana is an incredible team, but there's a reason why Rose said what he said. You have to know basketball and it would've helped to see both of those very non-typical preseason games. First, they're not as big as you think...compared to Chicago (and they don't match up better against Miami either). Hibbert gives Miami problems sure, but the Bulls interior pushes the Heat around way more. Not only that, but they typically play the Pacers straight up and come out looking like the aggressor.

    Another huge factor is help defense that adds to the overall prowess. People seem to not realize that while Granger and George are phenomenal on the offensive end, they are finesse players (and really the same damn position) who do no hold a candle to Butler and Deng defensively. Plus, the Bulls definitely have an edge in experience and big game stages. Deng practically fouled George out by himself in both games recently. Noah, Taj, Deng and Butler vs who? Hibbert, West, Granger and George? Defensively this is a no brainer. There are not any glaring advantages the Bulls have over them - I will give you that, but it's a lot of little ones. A lot. You just have to watch the games closely and know basketball pretty well, which clearly Rose does. People can make fun of the SAT thing all they want, but the dude has a scary good basketball IQ. The Pacers are an awesome team and Miami better pray they don't have to go through them AND the Bulls this year in the post season, but Chicago healthy is much scarier than the Pacers.

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