2012 NBA standings: Bulls positioned well for Derrick Rose's eventual return

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Bulls currently occupy the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, so they are in a good position to ascend when Derrick Rose returns.

Chicago Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose isn't operating under the pressure of a public timetable for his return to the floor, but the rest of his teammates have positioned the team well for a playoff run whenever he does get back in uniform. The Bulls (14-10) haven't produced a lot of 'wow' moments in the early portion of the 2012-13 NBA season, but Tom Thibodeau has managed to push the team into the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.

The Bulls own first place in the Central Division -- they lead the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers by one game each -- and the fourth seed slot isn't the product of some division-winner voodoo, as they also genuinely own the fourth-best record in the conference. In fact, they have the ninth-best record in the entire NBA.

The Knicks probably won't shoot as well from downtown as they have so far this year, and the Atlanta Hawks are well within reach, so the Bulls could likely ascend into the top-two if Rose comes back healthy for the second half of the season. It's a nice thought that should help carry Bulls fans until their superstar gets back on the floor.

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