With 10 games left to go in the regular season, the Chicago Bulls are inching closer and closer to their first postseason appearance since the 2015-16 season. And Zach LaVine couldn’t sound more motivated.
The All-Star scorer recently spoke with Andscape and ESPN’s Marc J. Spears about the Bulls’ playoff pursuit. When asked what it would mean to finally take a sledgehammer to his plaque that reads “Active Player With Most Regular Season Games Without a Playoff Appearance,” LaVine was blunt: “I need to knock that off,” he told Spears. “I don’t want to see that s— anymore.”
A humble and level-headed character, LaVine hasn’t shown much frustration with the cards he’s been dealt during his NBA career. But one can only imagine that as his game has developed, so has his sense of urgency. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley were able to recognize that, and the organization’s two new front office leaders wasted very little time creating a significantly better product. The Bulls now sit 42-30 and have clinched their first winning campaign in over half a decade. There is still work to be done to ensure this team locks in a first-round series, but LaVine is ready to put in that work:
“I’m excited to get to that point for my team, as well as the whole city of Chicago,” LaVine told Spears. “That is one of the most historic franchises. They’re used to winners and used to winning.”
Averaging 24.5 points with nearly 5.0 assists and rebounds per game in his second All-Star season, LaVine has continued to carry his weight to put this team in a position to succeed. And that’s only amplified when we remember he’s currently pushing through a nagging knee injury – one that will, unfortunately, keep him under 100 percent for the remainder of the season.
“Nobody looked at us the right way,” LaVine said. “I think we put a chip on our shoulder, and we still have to continue to go out there and play that way. The season isn’t over with. We’re still fighting for playoff standings, so we started off the right way and we’re looking to end it the right way, as well.”
Heading into this year, one of the most pivotal steps for LaVine centered around his leadership. And now is the time to lead the way. Not only is his next step playing playoff basketball, but it’s demonstrating he can continuously take his team to this level. The Bulls believe he’s capable of doing just that, and they’re likely to show it with a hefty check this summer.
Anyway, LaVine spoke about a lot more with Spears (and head coach Billy Donovan also chimed in), so make sure to give the full story a read! I like the sounds of a motivated, Zach!
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) March 23, 2022