Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine is making his All-Star claim clear

NBA Zach Lavine Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NBA Zach Lavine Chicago Bulls (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine is proving that he is indeed worthy of making his first All-Star game in 2019-20

During the 2019-20 NBA season, Zach LaVine has provided the Chicago Bulls with multiple extraordinary performances throughout the first 29 games. The 6-foot-5 guard has continued to solidify his position as an All-Star, while, simultaneously, placing himself in the upper echelon of players in the league.

The most notable showing of his dynamic, star-level skillset came Nov. 23rd against Charlotte.

The UCLA-product dropped 49 points in 35 minutes on 17-28 shooting from the field and 13-17 from beyond the arc – coming one 3-pointer short of tying Klay Thompson’s 3-point record. More importantly, LaVine sank the game-winning fadeaway 3 at the buzzer to stun the Hornets.

Aside from his near 50-point performance, LaVine has still been surgical in scoring the ball. Despite their tough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Dec. 16th, he poured in 39 points and provided clutch plays down the stretch; that being his sixth game of scoring 35-plus this season, trailing only James Harden (17), Giannis Antetokounmpo (8), and Trae Young (8).

A game before that, the two-time Slam Dunk Champion put up 31 points and hit another game-winning shot. This time, an and-1 layup against the LA Clippers.

Zach LaVine has been relentlessly scoring the ball as of late. Over the last 13 games, he’s averaging 27.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, while shooting 47 percent from the field, and 46 percent from 3 on 8.8 attempts per game. Moreover, he’s averaging 25.6 points in the month of December.

However, all his efforts have, unfortunately, resulted in a 10-19 record thus far. Equally important, the Chicago Bulls possessed a 5-8 record during the dominant 13-game run that LaVine provided. Jim Boylen has been a train wreck of a coach for this club. His often stagnant offense has compromised and hindered the talents of several players on the Bulls’ roster this season (i.e, Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, Denzel Valentine). Chicago currently ranks 28th in the league with an offensive rating of 103.3.

At no surprise, the electrifying guard has been able to overcome all the adversity that he consistently faces.

All that being said, the Bulls remain only 3.5 games out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, LaVine is averaging 23.2 points (16th in the league), 4.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, while shooting 40 percent from deep.

For this season, my projected All-Stars in the Eastern Conference are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, Jimmy Butler, Andre Drummond, Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Zach LaVine.

Let’s find out how LaVine compares to some of the star players in the East.

As of now, Zach LaVine (23.2) averages more points than Kemba Walker (23.1), Joel Embiid (22.8), Jimmy Butler (21.2), Spencer Dinwiddie (21.0), Jayson Tatum (20.6), Andre Drummond (17.7), Bam Adebayo (15.2), and Ben Simmons (14.3).

Amongst the guards, including Tatum, LaVine (43.9%) shoots a better percentage from the field than everyone except Beal (44.6%) and Simmons (57.1%). He also sports a better 3-point percentage (40.5%) than all the aforementioned All-Stars besides Walker (40.7%).

His effective field goal percentage (52.4), or eFG%, is above Siakam (51.4), Beal (50.9), Butler (46.7), Dinwiddie (48.8), and Tatum (47.5). Furthermore, LaVine’s player impact estimate (12.6), or PIE, ranks higher than Beal (12.2), Tatum (12.3), and is tied with Dinwiddie.

Zach LaVine has a strong case to land his first All-Star appearance this season. Last year, Chicago was, without a doubt, going to miss the postseason and LaVine still managed to accumulate 519,746 votes; ranking eighth amongst guards.

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But, as LaVine always says, “everything comes with winning.” Now, the Bulls’ are a significantly better team than a season ago, with a chance to creep closer to the playoffs prior to All-Star Weekend – which will be held in Chicago.