Two nights ago the Chicago Bulls lost to the (is it too early to call reborn?) Mavericks. While probably most of us have Luka Doncic in top 3 spots for the Rookie of the Year race, another young player stole his spotlight that night. Zach LaVine.
Our athletic, injury prone young star with questionable defense put up 34 points that night. He was 11 of 15 from the floor, with 5 out of 7 from downtown and made 7 of his 8 free throws. Everyone has their night, right? Monday wasn’t his only 30+ performance. Since the season started he’s averaged 32.3 pts, making 61.8% of his shots, and 45% from deep range. Now, he’s probably not going to be able to sustain that, but it made me ask myself: “is he really that much overpaid?”
After a classic “if we can’t beat them on the floor, lets beat them off it” move by the Kings, Zach signed a 4 year 80 mil. contract with the Bulls. At the time, he was a young back-to-back slam dunk winner, coming back from a serious injury. His defense was, at best, questionable and the Bulls could have invested those 80 M’s in a solid 2-way beast. Even our not-interested-in-the-NBA girlfriend can see that. Not to forget that even today, it's hard to bet on a healthy 23-year-old player who’s game relies upon his athletic dominance. And if someone in the NBA got their hearts broken, and learned such a lesson - it's the Bulls. So why opt in on such a move?
Maybe the answer lies within the problem? Maybe because of their unfortunate experience with D Rose, they saw something different with Zach? Maybe they saw a new opportunity, and bounced back from their tragedy together and just as like LaVine bounced back from that torn ACL? And maybe the Bulls are going to be another successful eastern young core story based around their two 20 mils. 23-year-olds Lavine & Parker along with their two first-round picks Markkanen & Carter Jr. How come we are all rooting for Butler to go to the Heat who already have $158 million on the books and would consider it a great move, but the Bulls paying LaVine and being #27 in salary with $103 million on the books is lunacy? They gotta spend their money on someone, might as well be an addition to their young core that can put up 34 in a game. Talking about Vlade Divac pulling a fast one on The Bulls with that offer sheet.....
Stats and contract information courtesy of Basketball-Reference