Over the next month leading up to #OpeningNight, we’ll be previewing some of the key players on the Bulls for the 2017-2018 NBA Season. We’ll give you our thoughts on what you can expect, as well as a best-case scenario for each player we highlight: Zach LaVine
After three years of steady progress and looking like one of the best young wings in the league, Zach LaVine starts off his 4th season in the NBA on a different mission. LaVine is not only trying to recover from a left ACL tear that he suffered in February, but he is also on the verge of a potential massive pay-day from either the Bulls or another team. The Bulls have until Oct. 16 to sign LaVine to a long-term extension or else he will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer. There has been speculation that LaVine could return to the court around November but the team is being cautious with him and wants him to fully recover from his injury. Seeing as though LaVine is seen as the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler deal, one would think that Chicago would want to extend him and have him here long-term. At only the age of 22, LaVine has shown an ability to get buckets and possesses the necessary athleticism to become a true two-way stand out. With this youth movement that the Bulls have decided to go forward with, Zach LaVine is one of the more interesting players on the roster due to his talent and youth.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
When healthy, Zach LaVine has shown that he is capable of putting the ball in the basket and that he possesses one of the higher ceilings in the league. With range that extends way beyond the three-point line and the necessary quickness to attack the basket at will, the 22-year old could develop into one of the deadliest offensive matchups at his position. He has increased his scoring average and three-point percentage each year that he has been in the association. While advanced metrics were not kind to LaVine last year rating him as the 30th most efficient point guard in the league in only 47 games, those numbers do not tell the whole story. He was never truly a point coming out of UCLA and will be switching back over to shooting guard with the Bulls, which will allow him to focus more on catching and shooting rather than trying to create opportunities for others. The biggest jump that he can make that would launch him into star status would need to come on the defensive end. With his length and athletic prowess there is no reason for him not commit himself on the defensive end of the floor. LaVine has the tools and make up to become a legit 20+ ppg scorer in this league on a nightly basis and with the way this Bulls roster is currently constructed, they are going to need someone to shoulder that scoring load night in and night out. While this team is definitely in transition, they have a young guard who still has so much potential that has yet to be unlocked and could become the next star in Chicago.
Photo: Chicago Tribune