Thibodeau not worried about GM predictions

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Thibodeau not worried about GM predictions

Tom Thibodeau is not fan of outside predictions, and those of general managers can now be added to that list.

Yesterday NBA.com released its 11th annual GM survey, a list of 57 questions regarding players, coaches and fans answered by all 30 general managers. Of those questions, 80 percent of respondents selected the Indiana Pacers to win the Central Division, while just 20 percent selected the Bulls.

Whether its praise or criticism, it really doesnt matter. The only thing that matters is what we think, and again I want it to come back to us concentrating on our improvement, Thibodeau said, and so if they picked us to win it, would it mean anything more? No. So to me it doesnt mean anything. I dont care about that stuff.

It was a busy offseason for the Pacers, who resigned All-Star center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill after a 42-win season a year ago. The team also traded back-up point guard Darren Collison to the Mavericks for center Ian Mahinmi, and signed guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green.

Without Derrick Rose for at least half of the season, expectations have been tempered by many outside outlets, but Thibodeau said his team is focused on daily improvement, not predictions.

If you have the right type of guys, theyre gonna get ready every day, and so thats all you have to focus in on, Thibodeau said. If you start thinking about that stuff youre not thinking about the stuff that is important, and that takes you away from doing things to the best of your ability. So I dont want them getting caught up in any of that stuff because it doesnt mean anything.

Last year 96.4 percent of general managers selected the Bulls to win the division.

The poll did, however, name the Bulls the top defensive team in the NBA and Thibodeau the best defensive coach in the NBA. Last year Chicago allowed an NBA-best 88.2 points per game and teams made less than 42 percent of their field goals, which ranked second in the league.

Derrick Rose was named the second-best point guard in the NBA behind the Clippers Chris Paul; Richard Hamilton was named the second-best player who moves without the ball, behind Miamis Ray Allen; Taj Gibson received votes as the most likely to break out, and Nikola Mirotic was named the second best international player not in the NBA.

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2017 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need, and what draft day and after could have in store. Seventh in a series.

Bears pre-draft situation

Alshon Jeffery is on to Philadelphia after striking a one-year deal with the Eagles. For an offense that has let go of Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Jay Cutler since the arrival of John Fox and his coaching staff in 2015, the search for replacement firepower has seldom been more urgent.

The splash from Cameron Meredith (14 games, 66 receptions) was a significant bright spot from the dismal '16. Bears are still waiting for some impact — ANY impact — from Kevin White after making him the No. 7 pick of the '15 draft and seeing his two NFL seasons end with broken leg bones. White was leading the Bears with 19 catches through four games last season when he was lost for the year, so some very guarded optimism is allowable.

"Kevin is going to have to step up, stay healthy, and he knows that, and he's motivated," said GM Ryan Pace. "We're excited about a handful of guys and we still have the draft ahead of us, too."

The free-agency addition of Eddie Royal in '15 was intended to bring an immediate infusion of veteran savvy and production at the nickel spot. Both his seasons were gutted by injuries, with a total of 70 receptions, the second-lowest two-year total of his nine-year career. Royal had foot surgery in December and is expected to be released when sufficiently healed.

This offseason was marked by a commitment to upgrading wideout speed, coming in the forms of Markus Wheaton from Pittsburgh and Kendall Wright from Tennessee.

"Markus is a deep threat receiver," Pace said. "[In] 2015 he was Top 10 in reception average. I really like his makeup and his toughness going all the way back to Oregon State, but he's a guy who can really run and gives us that element in our offense that I think that we need, speed. Unfortunately, he had a shoulder injury last year that happened kind of early in the season and then eventually needed surgery on it. But he's fully cleared now and we feel good about that now."

Pre-draft depth-chart'ing starters

WR - Kevin White

WR - Cam Meredith

WR - Markus Wheaton/Kendall Wright

Reserves: Dres Anderson, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Rueben Randle, Eddie Royal, Deonte Thompson

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Bears draft priority: Low/moderate

Names were added to the pool of options but none of the stature of Jeffery, and until the aggregate proves to better than simply average, the Bears will always look to add impact points-producers when the options present themselves. Rarely has their receiver corps had so many unprovens going into a season.

The organization believes White's run of bad luck is due to change and reduced some of the positional urgency with the offseason additions. Wheaton signed a two-year deal, Wright for one year, Meredith has had just one meaningful season and White is a virtual "rookie" for the third straight year.

Pace has drafted a wideout in each of his two drafts, White in '15 and Braverman last year. Braverman played three games without a catch and will be in another intense competition for a roster spot. Best guess would be a late-round wideout with abilities to enhance the return game.

Keep an eye on ...

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois — Caught 160 passes over two NIU seasons. Fits Bears' template for size (6-4, 218) and had private workout with them.

Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska — Bears staffed his workout and could find a spot as a practice-squad player able to fill nickel role.

Chad Williams, Grambling — Private workout for Bears, had huge production and may be a value late-round pick for development.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

5'10" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

103 CAR, 596 YDS, 9 TD | 40 REC, 392 YDS, 4 TD

Projection:

Second round

Scouting Report:

"Ascending, competitive runner who has flashed explosive NFL talent at various times over the last two seasons. A committed runner with excellent balance who finds yardage that isn't blocked for him. While he has never logged 20 carries in a single game, he has the talent to play on all three downs if he can prove his durability." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

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