The Bulls have had an incredible 2021-22 season, sitting in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 39-23 record despite a litany of health woes. DeMar DeRozan is in the MVP conversation and has been a joy to watch.
However, the Bulls’ struggles against elite teams, on display again in an ugly loss to the Heat on Monday, are a cause for concern when thinking about championship contention and their ability to go on a deep playoff run. Chicago is just 6-15 against the top-six teams from both conferences.
Yes, the long-term injuries to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso have played a major factor because of how much they mean to the defense, but all these losses are still a major red flag. The upcoming schedule is daunting, and the cavalry isn’t coming yet for a few more weeks.
These are all reasons why the odds-wizards have the Bulls currently at the 10th-best odds (+3000) to win the 2022 NBA Finals, according to DraftKings. They’re sixth in the Eastern Conference in championship odds behind the Nets, Bucks, 76ers, Heat and Celtics. The Bulls are +1200 to win the East.
Looking at the Central Division, while the Bulls lead the Bucks by two games and the Cavaliers by 2.5 games, it’s Milwaukee with the best odds to win the division at +120. Chicago is narrowly behind them at +140, with Cleveland at +290.
It’s natural to feel discouraged about the Bulls right now given their failures against the fellow top teams. However, there will be plenty more opportunities to get big wins down the stretch of the season, and hopefully all these tough games will prepare them well for the playoffs. And, of course, hopefully they’ll get their guys back with no more major injuries.