Chicago Bulls projected to win 48 games, simulation says

Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, NBA Power Rankings (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, NBA Power Rankings (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With the release of this year’s edition of NBA 2K, the first goal in my mind was to see just how good these Chicago Bulls really are. I simulated the 2022-23 NBA season 10 times and aggregated the results to project just how successful this year’s team will be and how far they can go in the playoffs.

To keep things consistent with how they currently stand, all injuries and trades were turned off for this simulation. Although I feel the Chicago Bulls were severely underestimated by the first batch of NBA 2K23 ratings, I believe the results of these simulations proved to be rather interesting.

The Chicago Bulls should have another great season and make the playoffs, according to our series of NBA 2K23 simulations.

Across all of the simulations, the Chicago Bulls posted an average record of exactly 48-34, which would be two wins better than where they finished last year. The worst simulation had them finishing with 45 wins, while an outlier on the high end had the Bulls winning as many as 52 games, enough to claim the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Fortunately, none of the simulations had them missing the playoffs outright. Unfortunately, Chicago would find themselves in the play-in tournament in 6 of the 10 test runs.

Surprisingly, a majority of the simulations had Chicago winning at least one playoff series, even when they were the lower-seeded team. However, their ceiling seemed capped there, as the Bulls only advanced past the second round just once in ten tries. Even in the simulation where they achieved the top seed, Chicago was swept in four games by Miami. This appeared to be a reoccurring problem, as the Heat won all 12 postseason games against the Bulls in these simulations.

The most interesting run actually came when Chicago finished 46-36 and held the East’s 7th seed. After dispatching the Raptors in the play-in tournament, the Bulls would go on to beat the Bucks in six games, sweep the Nets, and climb to the NBA Finals after an intense seven-game series against the 76ers.  The journey would end there after losing to MVP Luka Doncic and his Dallas Mavericks, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

DeMar DeRozan led the team in scoring with an individual stat line of 26.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game; however, Zach LaVine wasn’t too far behind and recorded an almost identical 25.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per contest. LaVine was estimated to add an average of 18.5 wins per simulation, while DeRozan chipped in an average of 17.2 wins himself. Despite this, DeMar would be named to the All-Star team all ten times, while LaVine would earn All-Star honors in just half of the simulations.

Nikola Vucevic managed to average another double-double with 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Through some odd force of nature, Vucevic was also the team’s second-best playmaker, averaging 4.6 assists. The top spot would go to Lonzo Ball, who led the Bulls in both assists and steals per game. Ball earned All-Defensive Second Team honors in 9 of 10 simulations, clearly showing the game understands Lonzo’s real-life impact on that end.

Obviously, this is just a game, and in no way can predict how things may shake out in the real world. If NBA 2K23 is anything to go by, the Chicago Bulls are right on the precipice of championship contention. All they need now is a guiding hand to pick up the pieces (or in my case, the controller) and push this team to the finish line.

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