Will the Bulls make the playoffs?

I looked at Basketball Reference's forecast today, and right now it'd projecting the Bulls to end up in the 9th seed, just out of the playoffs. Also, I looked at Tankathon with an eye toward figuring out what the Bulls and the other Eastern Conference teams are likely to do.

First, Miami and Indiana are obvious playoff teams. If the playoffs started today, the Wiz, Hawks, Raptors, Bobcats, Pistons and Celtics would finish out the EC playoff teams. 4 of those 6 teams (Wiz, Hawks, Bobcats, and Pistons) basically owe their 2014 pick already. So there's very little point in them tanking, in addition to them not sounding like they're interested in tanking.

Perhaps the Hawks are a bit of an exception since they just lost their best player for the rest of the year. I dunno what they do.

So let's assume the Wiz, Bobcats and Pistons are pretty well locked in.

* The Hawks, might need help, but have no incentive to get worse.

* The Raptors and Celtics are sort of on the bubble, but they'd been good enough, and their rosters are set enough so it seems unlikely they would move dramatically higher in the draft if they made a trade.

Of the teams on the outside, the Nets and Knicks have no point to tank either, because they've also given up their 14 pick already. The Bucks are about the only team that's so bad they are unlikely to be able to climb back in the playoffs no matter what. The Bulls, Cavs and Magic all could conceivably catch up and make the playoffs. Or they could get even worse, and move to the top of the the draft order.

If you figure the 8th seed probably has to get to at only around 36 wins, it's hard to fathom how any of the teams that are actually trying will miss out. The Bulls (13-17) would need to go something like 23-25 over their last 50 games.

To me, this seems pretty unlikely. Deng and Butler both have what look like they'll be lingering injuries. Hinrich is certain to miss time as well. So basically, I think we're headed for the 8th seed at best, but likely we'll be just out of the playoffs.

But... if we're going to be out of the playoffs, shouldn't we be as out of the playoffs as we can get? In this draft, having something like the 5th or 6th pick instead of the 10th pick could make a pretty huge difference.

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