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The Chicago Bulls' playoff hopes will hinge on youngsters' consistency

By Stephen Beslic,


With the playoffs quickly approaching, the Bulls will need their young players to be consistent if they want to make a run.

The Chicago Bulls have won 10 of their last 16 games and are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 21-24 record. As bad as they played at the end of last year—which was on full display in a 150-126 loss to the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves on December 19—the Bulls are just three and a half games behind the sixth-seeded Miami Heat. The question is, can the Bulls make a late-season push to reach the playoffs?

The answer may rest in how consistent their young core of players is. With the Bulls' "Big Three" of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine , and Nikola Vucevic playing at their All-star levels lately, the other two members of the starting five—Patrick Williams and Ayo Dosunmu—will be key if Chicago wants to make the postseason.

Crucial string of games ahead

After their Paris trip, the Bulls now play eight straight games against teams that are in eighth place or lower in either conference, giving them the opportunity to snatch a few wins and move up the standings.

However, the Bulls need these young players to step up and prove that they can maintain their level of play if they want to make the playoffs. While Dosunmu and Williams have shown flashes of their potential, consistency has eluded both players.

Dosunmu , in particular, plays a crucial role in the grand scheme of things for the Bulls. Initially thrust into the starting lineup as Lonzo Ball's replacement, the second-year guard was then yanked in favor of the veteran Alex Caruso. Then, after Caruso suffered an injury, Dosunmu was placed back as a starter—a position he has held up to this moment.

The Illinois product has averaged 10.3 points on 53% shooting over his last 10 games, along with 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists. His ability to set the table up for LaVine, Vucevic, and DeRozan while also taking some of the scoring load off them will be key in the Bulls' playoff push.

Williams also needs to prove his worth

On the other hand, Williams has been a bit of an enigma this season—he has shown an impressive ability to contribute in nearly all aspects of the game; however, his consistency has been a bit sketchy.

While there are games like the one he had against the Pistons last week, where he had ten points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks, and two three-pointers, there have also been head-scratchers like the six-point, six-rebound effort against Washington.

The Bulls need Williams to be consistent if they are going to make a playoff push. With his ability to do a bit of everything on the court, he can provide invaluable minutes for the team in their quest to rise in the rankings.

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