According to the Chicago Bulls via NBA.com, star guard Zach LaVine will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks to treat his right foot inflammation that’s held him out of the last three games. The Bulls have gone 3-0 in his absence, with two wins against playoff opponents. Tonight’s win against Charlotte marked their first three-game winning streak of the season and their third straight game with over 110 points, a mark they failed to reach in their previous nine games while LaVine was in the rotation. Coby White’s emergence, the offensive efficiency, and the team’s overall success have all been bolstered since their two-time All-Star has been sidelined. Is there any substance in the last few games, or is it too early to react to the seemingly new-look Chicago Bulls team?
Missing A Month
LaVine will miss 15 games at a minimum, a number that could creep near 20. He’s appeared in 18 games in 2023, and after his injury timeline, there will be a similar number of games to compare the accurate numbers of the Bulls with and without their alleged best player. He’s had the spotlight for the better part of seven years in the Windy City, leading the team in shot attempts, points, and usage rate and having the highest salary on the roster. First reported by the Bulls and confirmed by Shams Charania of The Athletic, LaVine’s injury timeline has been extended to a month.
Coby White Is All-Star Hunting
The Bulls’ 23-year-old point guard has taken notice of the void left by LaVine’s absence and taken full advantage. His shot attempts have gone from just over 11 per game to over 18, and his shooting percentages have also increased. From the field, he’s boasted over a 5% increase and, from three-point territory, has flexed over a 10% increase in efficiency. He’s putting up over seven rebounds and six assists per contest without LaVine; both drastically improved from the first 18 games of the year. If White can average 24 points, seven rebounds, and six assists consistently as he has the past three outings, an All-Star appearance is not out of the question for his future.
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Team Offensive Improvement
The team numbers with and without LaVine are rather staggering. Yes, it is only a three-game sample and shouldn’t be considered the new standard just yet, but in the early stages of an extended time without their 28-year-old star guard, it’s looking much better without him. The team’s assists have gone from bottom two in the NBA to the top two without him, from 20.9 per game to 29. Chicago’s points per game have gone from bottom three, under 107 per game, to the top five with 118. Again, these are small sample sizes with a new configuration of shot distribution and minute rotation, but this product looks much cleaner and more productive than the one with LaVine in the mix.
He’s Played His Last Game In Chicago
There’s a significant level of speculation following this news that LaVine is done in a Chicago Bulls uniform. If the success sans his services continues, the rumors grow, and his camp continues to echo the disgruntled messages from his side, his next game may be for a new team.
If he’s dealt, would anyone else follow? DeMar DeRozan’s expiring contract, alongside Patrick Williams’s underwhelming contract year, may show them the door right behind the former UCLA guard.