NBA Playoffs 2011: 10 Players Standing Between Chicago Bulls and a Championship

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NBA Playoffs 2011: 10 Players Standing Between Chicago Bulls and a Championship
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls fans are brimming with optimism right now, and for good reason. Their team just reached the 60-win mark, their star point guard is the favorite to win the MVP, and coach Tom Thibodeau and executive Gar Forman could easily take home hardware for what they've contributed to the Bulls' success.

In the playoffs, every team has a clean slate, and everything that has happened since November means nothing (with the exception of home court advantage).

The Bulls are undoubtedly in a great position. By snatching the top seed from the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, Chicago guaranteed it would not see either of the two juggernauts until the Eastern Conference Finals. A road through Boston and Miami would have been tough for this young squad.

Yet, it's far too early to give the Bulls a free pass to the Finals. Every team that has made it to the postseason has a player or two that could give the Bulls major headaches.

Following is a list of 10 players from the teams I deemed the Bulls most likely to encounter on their path to winning the NBA Championship. Those teams are the Indiana Pacers in the first round (obviously), the Orlando Magic or Atlanta Hawks in the second round (since I think that series could go either way), the Celtics or Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals (again, that second round matchup could go either way), and the Los Angeles Lakers or San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. 

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