In case you haven’t heard Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine is really good. He has put the entire NBA on notice this season as he’s having the best season of his career. LaVine is showing the Chicago Bulls that they haven’t seen the best of him yet. He’s only 25 years old and appears to be coming into his prime.
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine this season is averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, threes, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage.
(Via Basketball Reference)
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 18, 2021
It’s not just one facet of his game that he has improved upon this year it’s everything. LaVine is averaging 28.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.2 APG, 52 %FG, & 84.7 %FT. He is playing at an elite level that is worthy of an All-Star nod. This season he is showing the Bulls that they need to pay him whatever he wants and build a team around him.
Zach LaVine is key to the teams future
There have been many skeptics out there who believe that LaVine could never be a #1 guy on an NBA team. Simply put, they are wrong. LaVine is currently 6th in the NBA in PPG and he’s 2nd in the league when it comes to points in the clutch.
Total points in the clutch this season:
1. Damian Lillard – 74
2. Zach LaVine – 72
3. James Harden – 65
4. Chris Paul – 63
5. De'Aaron Fox – 63
6. LeBron James – 61
7. Nikola Jokic – 57
8. Kevin Durant – 56
9. DeMar DeRozan – 54
10. Jerami Grant – 51
— Josh (@JoshJBullsHoops) February 18, 2021
LaVine clearly can lead a team and find himself in the top tier of scorers in the league. LaVine has never found himself with a better head coach than right now under Bulls coach Billy Donovan. Look at the results in his first season under a high-quality coach. He is absolutely someone you can build around.
The Bulls should list LaVine as an untouchable piece ahead of the trade deadline and look to the future and what they need to do to build around him. The media has always given LaVine a bad reputation simply due to the teams he’s played for. Unfortunately for LaVine, he has never been on a playoff team. While he’s done everything in his power to try and change that he can’t do it alone. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a #1 guy it just means he hasn’t had many solid players around him to help them get over the hump.
Players around the league have taken notice
LaVine appears to finally be getting the respect he deserves this season. All-Star voting numbers came out yesterday and the players absolutely took note of how well he’s been playing.
RESPECT. Zach LaVine was 3rd in player voting. pic.twitter.com/2LKK2yi2Hm
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) February 19, 2021
LaVine found himself tied for 3rd with James Harden when it came to the player vote, 4th place in the fan vote, and 5th place in the media vote. He now has to wait until Tuesday to see if he is chosen to the All-Star reserves by the league’s coaches. Lavine 100% deserves an All-Star spot this season and there shouldn’t be any argument there. If there are any arguments people can simply look at this man’s last 10 games.
Zach LaVine is averaging 31.0 PPG in his last 10 games.
He is the only Bulls player since Michael Jordan to average 30 PPG over a 10-game span.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 19, 2021
There’s simply no denying how good LaVine’s season has been this year. He is showing the city of Chicago that he can be the main option for a playoff team. The Bulls need to lock him down and build for the future.
How this front office can build a championship team
The Bulls have some solid pieces on the team currently. However, they also have some pieces that are questionable that they should part ways with. The current Bulls team is made up of crafty veterans and a slew of young talent. This gives them some leverage when it comes to the trade market. The Bulls should also be set up nicely heading into free agency next season with multiple expiring contracts on the team.
This team will need to make a decision on forward Lauri Markkanen as his contract expires after this season. If the team doesn’t want him back they should do whatever it takes to trade him ahead of the deadline. Whether it be for picks or for players they should try and get something back rather than letting him walk. There has been a lot of trade talk surrounding Markkanen. While he has produced in the games we still aren’t sure if he’s reached his ceiling as a player.
The Bulls already have a superstar on their team. If they make the right moves in the trade market and do everything they can to bring a big-name free agent to Chicago this team could be dangerous. There’s absolutely no reason why the Bulls should trade LaVine because you aren’t going to get a player of his caliber in return. LaVine is the future of the Chicago Bulls.
Zach LaVine this season:
Only two players in NBA history have averaged 28/5/5 on 50/40/80% shooting for a whole season — Steph Curry and Larry Bird (3x). pic.twitter.com/BBRvY9ZMN2
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 18, 2021
The front office has been quiet about any and all trade rumors. It appears they value LaVine like the superstar that he is. If the front office is smart they will give LaVine the money he deserves and build a team around him.