Zach LaVine is on Another Level, Fixing Turnovers is a Must, Billy Donovan Wants to Win, and Other Bulls Bullets

Who woulda thunk a Bulls loss could be a great palate cleanser to a gross Bears playoff loss? What a weird world we live in.

•   Zach LaVine is a gnat that flies in and out of your line of sight like that *snaps fingers,* and right when you think you clamped him down, he flutters on by with what I can only assume is a maniacal and tiny laugh that only gnats can hear. Truly, the Bulls’ top-scorer looks even more frustrating to guard this year than he has in the past, and if you don’t believe me, all you have to do is watch last night’s showing against the Los Angeles Clippers.

•   The Clippers defense may not be playing at the same elite level they were last season, but they still have some of the most pesky, gifted defenders in the league on their roster. LaVine responded to that fact by dropping a season-high 45 points on Patrick Beverley (1x All-Defensive First Team, 2x All-Defense Second Team), Paul George (2x All-Defensive First Team 2x All-Defensive Second Team, 2019 NBA Steals Leader), and Kawhi Leonard (2x Defensive Player of the Year, 3x All-Defensive First Team, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, 2015 NBA Steals Leader).

•   And while the Bulls did end up losing by three, this performance was not indicative of the same old LaVine. The Bulls leading scorer didn’t chuck up desperate shots but rather used the team’s motion offense to find himself a number of high-percentage looks (57.7 FG%, 62.5 3PT%). The team ended with a game-high 30 assists on the night, and LaVine also impressively contributed 7 of his own dishes to that total (FWIW: he also helped the Bulls win the rebounding battle 44-40 with 7 boards).

•   The last five games from LaVine have arguably been the best basketball we’ve ever seen him play, averaging 34.4 points (53.9 FG%, 43.4 3PT%), 6.0 assists, and 5.8 rebounds. To see those assist and rebounding numbers steadily improve is huge in his pursuit to become a more respected all-around player. Also, the mere fact that he is shooting more efficiently is key to adjusting his standings as a “winning player.” Last season his effective field goal percentage sat in only the 56th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass, but through his first 11 games of this season, he has gotten that number into the 74th percentile. Another equally encouraging stat is that his points per shot attempt have taken a major leap from 114.7 in 2019-20 (62nd percentile) to 126.6 (87th percentile).

•   With all of that said, LaVine still has a ways to go. He has missed two-straight last-second shots to either give the Bulls the win or send it to OT, and there is a good case to be made that he could/should have passed out on each of those attempts. When the game is truly on the line, he still has to prove he can get over his tunnel vision. He has also not necessarily helped Chicago in the turnover department, which has easily been this team’s biggest fault. LaVine has recorded four or more turnover in four of the team’s last five games. Meanwhile, the entire team leads the league in turnovers per game at 17.8. Donovan expressed clear frustration in the team’s lack of ball security last night, and he was even clearer about the fact that until they clean that up, these wins will remain out of sight.

•   If you haven’t listened to Donovan’s postgame press conferences, I highly recommend you do. The Bulls have now lost three games in a row (albeit good games), and his reaction to that is entirely different than how we saw Jim Boylen react last season. While Donovan, of course, said there were some positives to take away, there was also noticeable frustration and detail put into his descriptions about why they lost. In other words, unlike Boylen who basically straight-up said he wasn’t concerned about the win-loss column, Donovan simply sounds like he wants to win. He recognizes the importance of development, and the improved play this team showed over these past few games, but he also recognizes that this team lost, and it does them no good to beat around that bush.

•   The NBA is having plenty of COVID problems right out of the gate, and I guess the plan is to hope those problems solve themselves.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

more bulls news

NBA Legend Bill Walton Passes Away at 71

The NBA announced on Monday afternoon that NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton has passed away. The two-time champion was 71 years old and had been battling cancer, the league shared. "Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," NBA...

Daniel Gafford’s Big Night, Who Stands in Zach LaVine’s Way? And Other Bulls Bullets

Two former Chicago Bulls are one win away from an NBA Finals appearance. Yay? Derrick Jones Jr. and Daniel Gafford have both played a big role in the Dallas Mavericks' ascent. Jones Jr. helped close out the No. 1 seeded...

Time to Let DeMar DeRozan Walk? Chicago Needed Angel Reese, and Other Bulls Bullets

I fully expect the Zach LaVine rumors to go from a trickle to a downpour over the next few weeks. Whether or not that leads to anything sprouting, however, remains an enormous question mark. If one thing is for sure,...

A Second Report Name Drops Zach LaVine as a 76ers Target

As the offseason draws nearer, trade and free agency rumors are bound to increase. That means we should of course expect to hear Zach LaVine's name resurface a bit more. Earlier this week, we saw LaVine's name linked to the...

Conference Finals Envy, Luka’s Shot, Lonzo Ball Thoughts, and Other Bulls Bullets

At a wedding right outside Minneapolis this weekend, I’ve seen just how much this Timberwolves run matters. A section of Friday night’s dance floor was practically reserved for a crowd sweating out the game on a phone screen. Meanwhile, when...

Lonzo Ball Makes Bold Declaration On A Return Date

[ankin_law] When it comes to Lonzo Ball and his knee, I keep trying to tell myself, "I'll believe it when I see it." Over the last few months, Lonzo and the Ball family have given nothing but optimistic reports about...

Langdon & LaVine, Chicago’s Draft Prospect, Epic Sky Win, and Other Bulls Bullets

The Pistons are just the latest team to make a change at the top, and they shook things up with their new President of Basketball Operations hire Trajan Langdon. How could that affect their interest in Zach LaVine? https://www.bleachernation.com/bulls/2024/05/23/pistons-hire-pres-eversley/ Bulls...

Matas Buzelis’ Rise Began in Chicago, Where “Basketball is Like a Religion”

I had to jog into NOW Arena briskly. While it wasn’t as cold as it could have been on a Thursday in early March, my parking spot was several rows deep in the lot. Plenty of fans were filing into...

2024 NBA Mock Draft: Combine Results Alter Draft Board

The NBA Draft Combine is officially in the books, and while teams are still hosting their own individual workouts for prospects, we now have a little bit more of an idea of who could rise and who could fall from...

Pistons Have Hired Their New Front Office Leader (And It’s Not Marc Eversley)

The Detroit Pistons have reportedly settled on their next front-office leader. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, New Orleans Pelicans' Trajan Langdon will take over as the organization's new president of basketball operations. The decision comes after a seemingly extensive search,...

Latest News

Dodgers vs. Mets: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

In a series opener on Tuesday, Tyler Glasnow will start for the Los Angeles Dodgers (33-22) versus Tylor Megill and the New York Mets (22-30), with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET at Citi Field.If you're planning on watching...

How to Watch Yankees vs. Angels: Live Stream or on TV

In a series opener on Tuesday, Juan Soto and the New York Yankees (37-18) face Taylor Ward and the Los Angeles Angels (20-33), with first pitch scheduled for 9:38 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.If you're trying to watch...

Mariners vs. Astros: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Seattle Mariners (28-26), led by Dylan Moore, host Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros (24-29) at 9:40 PM ET on Tuesday.Keep reading to find out all the details on how to watch Seattle take on Houston live.When is Mariners...

Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees Series May 28-30: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

The Los Angeles Angels will be hosting the New York Yankees for a three-game series, with the action getting underway at 9:38 PM ET on Tuesday, May 28.Angels vs. Yankees Series Info Yankees @ Angels Time: Tuesday, May 28 at...

Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Series May 28-29: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

A two-game series featuring the Texas Rangers and the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks will begin on Tuesday, May 28 at 8:05 PM ET.Rangers vs. Diamondbacks Series Info Diamondbacks @ Rangers Time: Tuesday, May 28 at 8:05 PM ET Rangers Starting Pitcher:...

Reds vs. Cardinals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Cincinnati Reds (24-30), led by Spencer Steer, host Brendan Donovan and the St. Louis Cardinals (25-27) on Tuesday at 6:40 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything you need to know to watch Cincinnati play St. Louis.When...

Braves vs. Nationals: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

Marcell Ozuna and the Atlanta Braves (30-21) host C.J. Abrams and the Washington Nationals (24-28) at 7:20 PM ET on Tuesday.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading for streaming and TV options for the Atlanta-Washington matchup.When is Braves...

Guardians vs. Rockies: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Tuesday, Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Guardians (36-18) face Ryan McMahon and the Colorado Rockies (19-34), with first pitch scheduled for 8:40 PM ET at Coors Field.If you're intending to watch this game, keep reading for TV and streaming...

Brewers vs. Cubs: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Milwaukee Brewers (31-22), led by William Contreras, host Nico Hoerner and the Chicago Cubs (27-27) on Tuesday at 7:40 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything you need to know to watch Milwaukee play Chicago.When is Brewers...

REPORT: ANGEL HERNANDEZ IS RETIRING

Angel Hernández long ago - roughly around the time Joe West hung 'em up - became the face of Bad Umpiring in Major League Baseball. We can debate the degree to which that kind of title is deserved, but Hernández...

more bulls news