NBA Playoffs: 3 X-Factor Bulls that could surprise us, 2 that could fall flat

Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Patrick Beverley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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After defeating the Memphis Grizzlies to advance to 38-40, the Chicago Bulls are actually threatening to make a leap in the standings and are gaining momentum heading into the 2023 NBA Playoffs. With four games remaining on the schedule, it’s impossible to say just yet where the Bulls will land in the grand scheme of things, but for the first time in a while, there’s reason to hold out hope for a bit of postseason success.

Since the All-Star Break, Chicago has looked like a completely new team. They’ve posted a 12-7 record over that span, with several of those losses being well within reach of a win if just one or two things played out differently.

If the Bulls are to continue on their 52-win pace, they could become genuine threats to pull off an upset not only in the play-in tournament, but also in the playoffs themselves. To do that, Chicago will be banking on a handful of key players to either step up or continue their current hot streak.

The Chicago Bulls will be relying on these players to play up to their full potential if they’re to make serious noise in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Might Surprise Us: Zach LaVine

Arguably the only thing holding Zach LaVine back from being a household name as an elite offensive talent is his lack of a solid playoff track record. Without much playoff experience, it’s hard for many of his critics to take him seriously as the star player the Bulls are paying him to be,

That being said, he could be posed for a Devin Booker-esque breakout if he performs well in the upcoming play-in tournament and playoffs. Both of these players have all the tools necessary to contribute to a true contender, but for whatever reason, many doubted Booker’s ability to do so until he actually did so. Now it’s LaVine’s turn to follow suit.

If his recent play is anything to go by, LaVine should have no issues with his game translating to the playoffs. In the 19 games he’s played since the All-Star Break, LaVine is averaging 28.3 points while shooting 55% from the field and 43.6% from beyond the arc.

If LaVine manages to play like the No. 1 option we all know he is, this Bulls team is far more dangerous than their play-in tournament seeding would suggest. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see them catch a top-seeded team expecting an easy warm-up series off guard in the first round.