2023 NBA Playoffs: Can the Bulls realistically win the Play-In Tournament?

Zach LaVine, Patrick Beverley, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Patrick Beverley, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls, Potential 2023 Play-In Tournament Opponents
Jimmy Butler, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, Potential 2023 Play-In Tournament Opponents (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Miami Heat (40-37, 7th Seed)

Notable Players:

  • Jimmy Butler (22.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.8 STL)
  • Bam Adebayo (20.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG)
  • Tyler Herro (20.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG)

The Miami Heat have somewhat disappointed this season considering their performance since the 2020 bubble and the fact that much of the roster is still the same. These frustrations have been well documented, and it will be interesting to see if the Heat can bring it together and live up to their potential. They are led by former Bull Jimmy Butler, who is tied for the league lead in steals and is pacing the team in points and assists per game.

Butler has dialed in recently, turning back into the Playoff Jimmy that the league knows so well. Over the last 10 games, Jimmy G Buckets has 26.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game on 56.9/43.8/85.2 shooting. If the Bulls meet the Heat in a play-in game, it will be extremely tough to overcome Butler, who has a reputation to elevate his game to a whole new level in the playoffs.

The Bulls may be forced to overcome a familiar face in Jimmy Butler on the Heat to qualify for the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Butler’s supporting cast includes a defensive stalwart in Bam Adebayo and an excellent shooter in Tyler Herro, who will both provide support for the Heat.

Despite the Bulls’ sweep of the Heat this season, Miami may be the most difficult play-in matchup as they have the best overall roster and could make waves in the postseason. The Bulls should hope that the Heat overtake Brooklyn for the 6th seed, as the Nets represent a much more winnable matchup.

However, the Bulls can certainly win another matchup against the Heat if they are able to play solid defense against Miami’s supporting cast. It will be incredibly difficult to slow down Butler, but if the Bulls can limit Adebayo, Herro, or even role players like Max Strus, they can pull out a win. The Bulls have been propelled by an excellent defense since Patrick Beverley came to Chicago, and they will need a strong showing on that side of the ball to win.