The Chicago Bulls acquired Zach LaVine in a draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2017. Although there is no denying LaVine’s athleticism, this decision was met with some concern by the fan base.
You see, LaVine was nursing an ACL injury that limited him to just 47 games during the 2016-17 campaign. As expected, LaVine struggled somewhat upon his return to the hardwood. In 24 games for the Bulls the following season, he compiled averages of 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and three assists per outing on slash lines of .383/.341/.813.
Over the next two seasons, though, LaVine would prove to be one of the few bright spots for a Bulls squad that mustered just 22 victories. In 2018-19, LaVine increased his output with averages of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 63 games. The following year, LaVine increased his scoring production again (25.5 points) to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Zach LaVine Playing at All-Star Level for the Chicago Bulls
LaVine Enjoying Breakout Campaign for Chicago Bulls
As impressive as those campaigns were, LaVine is having his best season in a Bulls uniform to date. Although he did get off to a slow start from an efficiency standpoint during the first few games on the abbreviated season (43.7 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc), LaVine has played much better since the start of the new year.
For example, the Bulls played 13 games in January. During that stretch, LaVine failed to reach the 20-point threshold just three times. On top of that, he’s had some very memorable performances during this stretch. He had a 39 point, six rebounds, and five assists outing in the team’s 118-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 3.
Then, LaVine reeled off a streak of four consecutive outings in which he scored at least 30 points. The list includes 32 points, seven rebounds, and three assists against the Sacramento Kings. He followed that up with 38 points, five rebounds, and six assists against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. LaVine posted his highest point total of the season thus far against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 10.
In that contest, he scored 45 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. Not only did LaVine put up 45 points, but he did so on 10-for-16 shooting from beyond the arc. The 25-year-old capped off this impressive run with 35 points, seven rebounds, and six assists against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unfortunately, LaVine’s efforts weren’t enough to prevent the Chicago Bulls from taking a loss in each of those four contests.
Sizzling Hot in January
During the month of January, LaVine averaged 28.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per contest. Not only is LaVine proving he can be a great scorer, but he is also demonstrating that he can do it in an efficient manner. In the midst of that impressive stretch, LaVine shot 52.6 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from distance, and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Given those factors, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that LaVine is posting career-high numbers across the board in points (26.6), rebounds (5.3), and assists (5.1). Not only that, LaVine is shooting 51 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from deep.
At 7-11, the Chicago Bulls can’t be labeled as a team that can contend for a title right now. It’s too early to tell whether this squad has enough talent to compete for a postseason berth. What is a certainty is that LaVine has established himself as a franchise cornerstone of this team moving forward.
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