That surge has lifted the Bulls to seventh in the Eastern Conference, but a playoff spot is not guaranteed. The Pacers (tied), Heat (half a game back) and Hornets (two games back) are chomping at the bit.
Chicago might get some unexpected help down the stretch – from Wade.
Dwyane Wade was in full lather after the morning shootaround at Madison Square Garden, as optimism increases that he’ll be back for the Bulls this season after suffering a right elbow injury a couple weeks ago.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg declined to say whether he feels Wade will be back before the end of the regular season and Wade declined comment altogether, but with the increased intensity of Wade’s workouts suggests there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — be it a probable playoff showing or sometime sooner.
“It’s a day by day thing with Dwyane now,” Hoiberg said. “He’s feeling better but obviously there’s a lot of work to do as far as getting his strength back.”
In these last 10 games, the three Bulls are shooting 39% on 3-pointers. A few players are particularly crushing it:
- Nikola Mirotic (46% on 6.8 attempts per game)
- Denzel Valentine (37% on 5.7 attempts per game)
- Rajon Rondo (41% on 2.7 attempts per game)
- Jimmy Butler (57% on 2.3 attempts per game)
How much does that have to do with Wade? It seems his absence is mostly coincidentally coinciding with his teammates getting hot than anything else, though don’t discount a surge in Mirotic’s confidence and Rondo’s authority being somewhat related to Wade going down.
The Bulls should be careful with how they integrate Wade if he can return. His high-usage, average-efficiency style can be difficult on his teammates. But Wade is talented, and he should help Chicago overall.