Zach LaVine is one of the most exciting players in basketball, with a history of putting up big numbers. He has only had two seasons where he played more than 70 games due to injuries that led him to have surgery on both his ACL and meniscus.
Zach LaVine is a player who has shown the potential to be an elite scorer in the NBA. The Bulls took a gamble on him, and it paid off with his $80 million contract.
The Chicago Bulls wanted to do all they could this summer to convince Zach LaVine that they were serious about winning, particularly because LaVine was approaching his contract year. Arturas Karnisovas, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, did exactly that, paying big to get Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan, as well as backup player Alex Caruso.
Chicago’s offseason moves elicited a mixed response from the rest of the league. LaVine, on the other hand, seems to be overjoyed with his new colleagues. He’s particularly ecstatic about having Ball as a real point guard, something he’s never had with the Bulls.
LaVine isn’t the only one in the organization who is excited about Ball, but his support alone justifies Chicago’s $80 million investment in him.
Zach LaVine’s first real point guard is Lonzo Ball.
In recent seasons, Zach LaVine has usually provided the Bulls with the bulk of their offense.
LaVine had to be the team’s leading scorer and shot maker. He also had to be the best playmaker on the team. Last season, the All-Star led the Bulls in assists (4.9), after being second on the club in assists during the 2019-20 season. Although the statistics may help to showcase LaVine’s offensive development, they also expose Chicago’s previous point guard shortcomings.
Consider some of the point guards with whom LaVine has played in previous seasons. Coby White is a point guard with a lot of experience. Tomas Satoransky has alternated between starting and reserve roles. Kris Dunn was more of a defensive player who had trouble shooting from the outside.
Lonzo Ball brings a new dimension to the Bulls’ offense. He has excellent court vision and looks for transition scoring opportunities for his teammates. Small details play a role here as well. When players rush the floor, Ball’s outlet passes often lead to chances or alley-oops. As a spot-up shooter, he can score and spread the floor, but he’s more of a facilitator who can make the perfect pass.
LaVine has never played alongside a player like that. He seems to be looking forward to playing with one right now.
LaVine is one of several Bulls who are excited to play alongside Ball.
“It’s been a pleasure to play alongside Lonzo,” Zach LaVine says.
October 6, 2021 — K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop)
Ball’s early reviews in Chicago have been quite favorable.
Following Chicago’s preseason victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, LaVine complimented Ball, calling it a “treat” to play alongside the former UCLA star.
“In practice, we had some very nice chemistry. It’s nice to come out here and play fast, to have Lonzo get the ball off the rim and sprint. “It suits our style very well,” LaVine told NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson. “He can’t get the ball out of his hands quickly enough.” He has a very high IQ. I believe we’re all in the proper mentality to come out here and play hard straight away, setting the tone. As a result, it’s been a pleasure to play with him.”
The Bulls’ second-year guard wasn’t alone in his praise. Ball’s willingness to get everyone engaged is “contagious,” according to DeRozan, who praised his modest demeanor and work ethic.
Ball was paid almost $80 million to be the future point guard for the Bulls. As the Bulls pressed for a playoff spot, it was a gamble worth taking. All indications are that the investment will pay off handsomely and will go a long way toward persuading LaVine to remain in Chicago.
Ball could set the tone for a successful season in Chicago, leading to LaVine’s re-signing with the team.
On February 10, 2021, in Chicago, Illinois, Zach LaVine looks to pass under pressure from Lonzo Ball during a game at the United Center | Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
This season, Lonzo Ball may be the man in charge of Chicago’s attack.
Ball has the ability to relieve LaVine and DeRozan of some of their ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities. His effectiveness as a catch-and-shoot man may help DeRozan and LaVine become even more efficient slashers.
Lonzo’s ability to run the offense — not to mention his potential as a perimeter defender — could play a big role in the Bulls’ success this season. As a result, LaVine’s impending free agency may be influenced by this.
The 26-year-old has expressed a desire to establish long-term success in Chicago and become the franchise player that the Bulls have long desired. If the club is unable to make progress, there will be little motivation to re-sign. Even yet, knowing that Ball, DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic are all under contract for many seasons is reassuring, especially if the newcomers perform well.
Ball, who might maximize LaVine’s offensive skill set while persuading Chicago’s centerpiece that he’s the type of player who can assist LaVine and the Bulls win a championship, was actively pursued by the Bulls in order to maximize the team’s potential.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
DeMar DeRozan silences critics who claim he can’t play with Zach LaVine on the Chicago Bulls: ‘It’s Not Rocket Science,’ says the narrator.
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