The NBA does this thing every year in which the league's general managers answer questions about the season at hand. It's called, drumroll please, the GM Survey.
The results of the 2011-12 version were released Tuesday, and they probably won't please Bulls fans—or players. Although Derrick Rose (best point guard) and the Bulls D (best in the league) got some love from the GMs, the Miami Heat was the team most GMs (74.1 percent) think will win the NBA title.
Maybe the Bulls can use the results of the survey to inspire them. Let's take some of the categories in which the Bulls were overlooked and see if they can start to prove those oh-so-smart GMs wrong Tuesday against Phoenix.
Which team will win the Eastern Conference? Miami: 96.3%
Even without Derrick Rose (out with a big toe sprain) for a few games, the Bulls are the first team to reach 13 wins—and they looked absolutely devastating Tuesday in a 118-97 dismantling of Phoenix.
Which team will be most improved in 2010-11? L.A. Clippers: 66.7%
The Bulls had the NBA's best record last season, so it'll be hard to top that. But the Bulls are basically the same team, with an upgrade at shooting guard with Richard Hamilton (17.6 ppg. career average) in and Keith Bogans (6.7 ppg. career average) out.
Who is the best international player in the NBA? Dirk Nowitzki: 96.4%
Luol Deng, of South Sudan and a naturalized British citizen, should have something to say about this. He's putting together another solid season, averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds heading into Tuesday's game. He was right there Tuesday, with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
What was the most underrated player acquisition? Brandon Bass, Boston; David West, Indiana: 15.4%
Hamilton has been hurt, sure, but when he's healthy, the Bulls look like a different team with him on the court. He can create his own shot, is adept at finding the open man and moves without the ball. Plus, he's not Bogans.
Which team has the best home-court advantage? Oklahoma City: 44.4%
That's funny. The Thunder have already lost a game at home, but the Bulls have not (they are 6-0 at the United Center). Tuesday, it wasn't even close as the Bulls put the game away in the first half, leading by 20.