On NBA Draft Night 2017, the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves made a major trade, where the Bulls sent All-NBA SF Jimmy Butler and the #16 overall pick to the T-Wolves for G Zach Lavine, G Kris Dunn, and the #7 overall pick. Most can agree that Minnesota got the better end of this deal, adding one of the best two-way players in the NBA to a team already on the rise. The Bulls, however, seemingly gave up way too much for only one proven player in Zach LaVine. This bares a question: can LaVine be able to step up and be “The Guy” in the future for the Chicago Bulls?
Zach LaVine is more notable for being a 2x NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner than for being the centerpiece of a team. However, before sustaining a season-ending ACL tear, LaVine was having a career year. Averaging almost 19 points game, LaVine showed promise as a electrifying scorer, including a 40 point night against the Sacramento Kings. This was all done as the 3rd scoring option behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Also, this was while playing his natural position of shooting guard, where PG Ricky Rubio commanded the ball much more in the Wolves offense.
While LaVine’s scoring ability is already proven, his passing and playmaking are very suspect. With Dwayne Wade anchoring the shooting guard position, LaVine will be forced to play point guard. LaVine, who only averaged 3 assists a game last year, will be called on to run the offense and create for others. Knowing this, LaVine may have early struggles learning how to sacrifice scoring in order to get his teammates involved.
With that being said, how high is LaVine’s ceiling in Chicago? As of right now, the odds are heavily stacked against him. Besides coming off ACL surgery, the Bulls are not a team headed in the right direction. Their best player is D-Wade, but he is much past his prime. While the Bulls have a lot of young players, their talent is untapped. At only 22 years old, LaVine is already the most promising talent the Bulls have. So far, it is unknown whether his larger role will lead to him continuing to blossom into an elite player, or if it will only prove he is not ready to be the centerpiece of a team just yet.
Either way, LaVine has proven he can score, and will be asked to do just that. While he is obviously not the player Jimmy Butler is, LaVine’s has the potential to be the next big thing in Chicago. I believe that LaVine will make a great leap in scoring given more opportunity, but the Bulls immediate success will rely heavily on if LaVine can develop as an all-around player.
What do you think? Tweet me @b_Freaky13 to discuss if you think Zach LaVine can become “The Guy” for the Chicago Bulls!