Lonzo Ball's prediction could be X-factor for Bulls if true

Chicago Bulls Media Day
Chicago Bulls Media Day / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls should look at this year’s playoff results and feel some sense of hope, as they aren’t that far away from some of the teams that ended up in the final four teams. 

If every single thing broke right for the Bulls this summer, they could compete for the playoffs next season, but that is an “IF” the size of mount Everest. 

They’d need a healthy season of Zach LaVine, or to find a trade partner that sent back something useful for the Bulls. They’d need a big leap year from Patrick Williams, to hit a home run in the draft and to hope DeMar DeRozan continues his stretch of durability. 

One of the biggest x-factors is the health of Lonzo Ball, who has been updating his injury status regularly on his new podcast, the WAE (What an Experience). 

4 Possible trades with teams in the top-5 of the Draft. 4 Possible trades with teams in the top-5 of the Draft. dark. Related Story

The Bulls cannot go into next season counting on a healthy Ball, but if he is able to play, it would be a big boost to a team that needs some good news on the health front. 

Lonzo Ball injury update: Will ‘Zo play on opening night? 

Lonzo Ball, who is dressed like Dr. Evil in this episode of his podcast, went into the gruesome detail of his surgeries, starting with a torn meniscus whose repeated injury required him to get a new one from a donor. 

He was also asked if he plans to be back for the beginning of next season, and Lonzo gave a hopeful response: 

"Yes, I firmly believe that...That’s the plan that I’m on and I haven’t had any setbacks, so I expect to play the first game. "

Previously Ball had said he only feels about “70 percent” right now, so I would take this optimism with a giant grain of salt, especially considering his past injury woes. 

But his return would be huge for the Bulls, who are trying to walk the line of competing and reloading at the same time, which has led them to the play-in but not any further. 

Chicago was 22-13 with Ball, and if they plan to bring back everyone else, getting him back healthy could be enough to make them more competitive in the Eastern Conference. 

But it won’t be easy. The teams in front of them aren’t going anywhere, and Ball’s return alone won’t be enough to get the Bulls into the conversation without other impact additions, especially when he can’t be counted on to play the whole season, or any of it really. 

The Bulls have to conduct their business as if Ball is not coming back, but if he did, he could be an x-factor next year.