David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls have appeared to be championship contenders at various points during the 2021-22 NBA season.

Projecting Bulls' 2022 NBA Playoff Ceiling

The problem is that those points are moving further into the rearview mirror.

The Bulls are still well above .500 and perched fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, but they haven't maintained those standards the past few months. They are just 15-18 since Jan. 8 and 2-7 over their past nine games.

Will getting back to full strength cure what's ailing this club? Alex Caruso recently returned from a lengthy layoff, and Chicago is still awaiting the comebacks of Lonzo Ball and Patrick Williams.

Or are these struggles signs of bigger issues with this squad? Did this team play above its head to start the season, and might these past few months be more indicative of its actual ability?

We will work toward answering those questions by identifying the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Bulls' playoff run before landing on its most likely outcome.