3 under-the-radar NBA players primed to breakout in the second-half of 2023–24

Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls
Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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F Julian Phillips, Chicago Bulls

The second half of the season started with the news that wing Patrick Williams would miss the rest of the season for the Chicago Bulls. That should give Julian Phillips an opportunity to prove his worth down the stretch.

The 20-year-old Tennessee alum was a second-round draft pick last year and hasn't received much run in Billy Donovan's rotation. Phillips is quite raw, but his physical tools have always drawn salivating looks from NBA scouts.

In the first post-All-Star game, Phillips demonstrated what the excitement was all about. He played for 18 minutes, scoring nine points while grabbing two rebounds and dishing an assist. He knocked down four of his five field goal attempts, including his only three-pointer.

After that decent performance, however, Phillips found himself right back out of the rotation, only playing in two minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans. His upside will be limited if Donovan doesn't deploy the wing more often.

One look at the standings reveals the truth about the Bulls' remainder of the season. Chicago is virtually entrenched in the play-in tournament, and specifically, the No. 9 or No. 10 spot. That means the Bulls will have to reel off two straight wins just to make it to the playoffs.

Even if Chicago sneaks into the postseason, the ceiling for this oft-injured team is limited. At some point, there will be an edict to get the young guns some run and that could give Phillips a chance to show out.