By Bryce Welker on April 2, 2014
After Derrick Rose's injury and the Luol Deng trade earlier in the season, it seemed like the Bulls would be left for dead. Since then, however, they have been one of the NBA's biggest surprises, rattling off win after win and charging up the Eastern Conference standings.
Here are five questions they need to answer before the playoffs begin.
Since joining the Bulls midseason, Jimmer Fredette has not seen much action. The reality is that, although he is a great shooter, he might not be physically gifted enough to achieve great success at the NBA level. The Bulls will have to find out how to use him off the bench, and hopefully he is able to give him a few minutes off the bench in the playoffs.
Taj Gibson is in the midst of his best season in the NBA. Although he started out the season on the bench, it was difficult for Tom Thibodeau to keep him riding the pine. Gibson's addition to the starting lineup worked wonders for the Bulls this season, but will they stick to that plan during the playoffs?
The Bulls, as always, play a tough, physical, defensively-minded brand of basketball. Tom Thibodeau wouldn't have it any other way. But that kind of defense takes a lot of energy and effort on a night-to-night basis, and that could take a toll on the team as the season winds on.
Jimmy Butler emerged during last year's playoffs as a star in the making, and has been solid this season. But with the playoffs around the corner, Butler will need to bring his lethal combination of stellar defense and long-distance shooting to the court with him every night.
There is no other way to put it, Joakim Noah has been huge this season. He is in the running for the NBA's First-Team Center and will, at the very least, will be top 10 in the MVP voting. The Bulls will need him to continue his stellar play if they have any hopes of bringing home a championship this year.
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