(CBS) The Bulls were tabbed by NBA general managers as the third-most likely team to win this season’s championship in an annual survey that NBA.com conducts with league executives.

The defending champion Spurs were picked by 46.5 percent of GMs to repeat, while the Cavaliers drew 15.4 percent of the vote to win the title. Next came the Bulls, who along with the Clippers and Thunder drew 11.5 percent of the vote.

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In predicting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, 70.4 percent of GMs took Cleveland, while 25.9 percent took Chicago. Washington drew a small percentage (one vote, mathematically speaking) as well. Cleveland was about a 60-40 favorite over Chicago to win the Central Division.

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A few other members of the Bulls drew attention, too. Joakim Noah was tabbed as the third-best center in the NBA behind Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol, and he was called considered the best defensive team in the NBA, drawing nearly 36 percent of that vote. Jimmy Butler came in fourth place in the “best perimeter defender” voting.

Overwhelmingly, Chicago’s defense earned respect and top honors. About 93 percent of GMs said Tom Thibodeau had the “best defensive scheme,” and the Bulls drew nearly 86 percent of the vote for “best defensive team.”

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View the full survey results here.