General Managers favor Bulls over Bucks

These are the professionals.

And most of them like the squad the Bulls are bringing to the Central Division.

The GM survey is always an interesting read, as far as reading lists goes. There are only 30 possible voters, and each of them gets paid a lot of money to understand players, teams, trends, salaries, and how the league fits together. We know some are better than others, but they should all be more than reasonably competent -- they should all be quite prolific, and at the least they should all understand a fair bit more than you and I do about the NBA...

Should.

The full 2010-11 GM Survey Predictions were just released earlier today. And as usual, there are a few interesting choices. Now, there were 60 questions in all, and not every GM voted on every question. That is important to keep in mind, as the results are broken down into percentages. So, onto them...

Which team will win the Central Division?
1. Chicago 82.1%
2. Milwaukee 17.9%
- Last year: Cleveland 96.6%

Chicago has heaps talent, silly and clumsy as it may be, and I wouldn't fight the idea too hard that they are the favorites in the Central. But I just thought it was more like favorites in a "co-favorites" kind of way. Not like this 82/18 split stuff. Also: Poor Cavs.

More interesting morsels...

Which team will win The 2011 NBA Finals?
1. Los Angeles Lakers 63.0%
2. Miami 33.3%
3. Boston 3.7%
- Last year: Los Angeles Lakers 60.7%

So the Cavaliers won 61 and 66 over the past two regular seasons respectively... Respectable. Granted, they didn't win the Finals either time, but don't you think it is enough that LeBron James is now playing alongside Dwyane Wade (top five player) and Chris Bosh (top twenty player) instead of Mo Williams (top twentyish point guard) and Anderson Varejao (top twentyish power forward)?

The vote is just shockingly overwhelming to me. As far as I know, the poll is anonymous, and I don't see how picking the Lakers is playing it safe or something anyway. On the contrary, picking against the Heat seems quite bold, and no, I don't buy into the notion that the defending champs are by default the favorites. And neither should you. Because it's non-sensical.

Who will win the 2010-11 MVP?
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 66.7%
2. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 25.9%
Also receiving votes:
Dwight Howard, Orlando; LeBron James, Miami
- Last year: LeBron James 69.0%

I adore Kevin Durant. Probably my favorite superstar going, right with Chris Paul. But this makes me wonder whether the GMs were really thinking about who will win the MVP or who should win the MVP. If they did in fact answer the question as stated -- who will -- then this makes some sense. Mostly because the media voters can be counted on to not make sense.

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?
1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 55.6%
2. LeBron James, Miami 25.9%
3. Kobe Bryant, Lakers; Dwight Howard, Magic 7.4%
5. Dwyane Wade, Miami 3.7%
- Last year: LeBron James 78.6%

Oh. So the GMs just simply aren't making sense. Cool. James was picked by 78.6 % last year and then he turned 25 and is down to the top pick by just 25.9 %? Got it.

Again, Durant is amazing, and being four years LeBron's junior, he amazingly makes this particular question a somewhat legitimate debate. But let's be real here.

Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2010-11
1. Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers;
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
14.8%
3. Derrick Rose, Chicago 11.1%
4. Darren Collison, Indiana; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia;
JaVale McGee, Washington
7.4%
Also receiving votes:
Marcus Aldridge, Portland; Michael Beasley, Minnesota; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto; Tyreke Evans, Sacramento; Eric Gordon, L.A. Clippers; J.J. Hickson, Cleveland; Kirk Hinrich, Washington; Joakim Noah, Chicago; Anthony Randolph, New York; Marcus Thornton, New Orleans
- Last year: Kevin Durant 25.9%

Kirk Hinrich is most assuredly going to break out this season. And is it really "Marcus Aldridge?"

Who is the best small forward in the NBA?
1. LeBron James, Miami 67.9%
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 28.6%
3. Carmelo Anthony, Denver 3.6%
- Last year: LeBron James 96.6%

Okay, picking James second to Durant is one thing... picking James second (or third or something) to Carmelo Anthony? Please disclose your name and turn in GM card. Thanks!

Which international player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2010-11?
1. Rodrigue Beaubois, Dallas 21.4%
2. Nicolas Batum, Portland 10.7%
2. Omri Casspi, Sacramento 10.7%
2. Tiago Splitter, San Antonio 10.7%
5. Marc Gasol, Memphis 7.1%
5. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City 7.1%
5. Jonas Jerebko, Detroit 7.1%
5. Linas Kleiza, Toronto 7.1%
Also receiving votes:
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto; Goran Dragic, Phoenix; Rudy Fernandez, Portland; Danilo Gallinari, New York; Ersan Ilyasova, Milwaukee
- Last year: Rudy Fernandez 22.2%

I'm very down with the Beaubois choice, and I wonder who wants to trade for Ilyasova?

Which is the best defensive team in the NBA?
1. Boston 75.0%
2. L.A. Lakers 10.7%
3. Orlando 7.1%
Also receiving votes:
Charlotte, Milwaukee
- Last year: Boston 60.7%

I have no idea whether to think the Bucks will be better or worse defensively. They can't get much better than second best.

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?
1. LeBron James, Miami 89.3%
2. Amar'e Stoudemire, New York 7.1%
3. Tyson Chandler, Dallas 3.6%
- Last year: Vince Carter 25.0%

If things had really devolved into joking around at this point in the questionnaire, Brian Skinner would have been a more apt choice. This vote (these votes??) is an absolute diss to Tyson Chandler and I will hardly stand for this sort of effrontery.

Which team will be most improved in 2010-11?
1. Miami 39.3%
2. New York 14.3%
2. Washington 14.3%
4. L.A. Clippers 10.7%
4. New Jersey 10.7%
6. Philadelphia 7.1%
7. Toronto 3.6%
- Last year: Washington 48.3%

The Raptors are going to improve more on 40 wins than the Heat are on 47 wins, yes?

Which head coach is the best in the last two minutes of a close game?
1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio 32.1%
2. Larry Brown, Charlotte 25.0%
3. Phil Jackson, L.A. Lakers 17.9%
4. Scott Skiles, Milwaukee 14.3%
Also receiving votes:
Rick Adelman, Houston; Doc Rivers, Boston; Stan Van Gundy, Orlando
- Last year: Gregg Popovich 37.0%

Skiles received votes in a few different categories; this was his best percentage. He didn't collect a single coach in the Best Coach in the NBA department though.

Which player is the best pure shooter?
1. Ray Allen, Boston 53.6%
1. Kyle Korver, Chicago 21.4%
3. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 14.3%
Also receiving votes:
Gilbert Arenas, Washington; Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix; Aaron Brooks, Houston; Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee; Ty Lawson, Denver
- Last year: Ray Allen 57.1%

See, this makes it all worthwhile. At least one General Manager in the NBA (not John Hammond because GMs could not vote for their own players/team) thinks Brandon Jennings is the best pure shooter in the NBA. Is there some secret executive colloquialism for "shooter" that I am unaware of?

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