Zach LaVine’s performances last season made him a fringe MVP candidate. This year, the team has better chances of competing for the title with some marquee offseason signings; however, it could also mean an end to any dreams of winning an individual award.
LaVine epitomizes Bull’s unselfishness
Chicago Bulls signed Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball to help ease the burden on LaVine and Nik Vucevic. The new additions provided immediate impact as the Bulls cruised to a 10-4 record, which is good for the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference.
The fine start is a product of how well the new and old players mesh on the court. In some games, DeRozan shined as the best performer; other times it was LaVine or Caruso. The willingness to share the limelight is not lost on DeRozan. In their game against the Lakers, the former San Antonio Spur had 38, but he revealed Zach LaVine tried to push him to score more.
The Bulls ended up winning with a large margin. The regular-season game had a different meaning for DeMar as a California native and Caruso, who played his first game back at the Staples Center. As the Bulls’ leading man, LaVine’s support to his teammates reflects his goal for this year: help the team win in any way possible, even if it means sacrificing his numbers.
LaVine’s numbers are down but the Bulls are winning
Fourteen games into the season, LaVine’s points per game average stands at 25.9 points - lower than last year’s average of 27.4. It could mean that the high-flyer is not forcing things offensively and lets his teammates do their thing, or he is preserving his offense for some games when DeRozan struggles. Either way, the Bulls are winning, and they have become a fun team to watch.
LaVine knows that the main priority is winning the title over any individual awards. He also knows that Chicago has to be successful during the regular season to have any chance at individual awards. It’s still early, but if the team continues to display its brand of exciting and unselfish basketball, the Bulls could seriously contend for the title this year.
The former dunk champion isn’t relying on his athleticism alone. The 26-year-old added a consistent outside jumper and a reliable 3-point shot. He joined an elite club of players who averaged 50% from the field, 40% for three, and 60% true shooting. The other players on the list? Steph Curry, KD, and Larry Bird, all former MVP winners.
Not a bad group to be a part of.