Zach LaVine Still Has to Find His Groove (and Other Bulls Bullets)

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Zach LaVine Still Has to Find His Groove (and Other Bulls Bullets)

Chicago Bulls

A team of skeletons would be no match for Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Any contact at the rim would knock their ribs clean off, and those ankles surely aren’t strong enough to stay in front of their ball-handling skills.

Give me Zach + DeMar over five Skeletons 100-2.

Anyway, Happy Halloween!

  • Zach LaVine’s start to the season has been fine. Not great. Not bad. But fine. As impressive as his 46.4 percent clip from behind the arc is over his first four games, he’s also shot an extremely disappointing 41.7 percent on 2-point field goals. On top of that, we’d surely like to see his 3.5 assists and rebounds per game continue to trend upward. He’s still averaging 22.5 points per game thanks to his ability to get to the free-throw line, but we’ve so far only seen glimpses of the dominant scorer we know the max player can be.
  • To be clear, I’m not trying to say that we should expect anything more over his first four games. It’s clear that he’s still working his way back into game shape after reportedly playing zero five-on-five ahead of training camp. With that said, it’s hard not to be at least a little concerned about how long it might take for him to find his groove. It’s hard to get into a rhythm when you aren’t on the floor every game, and he’s likely to sit out several more contests over the next week.
  • The team has seemingly predetermined that LaVine will sit out back-to-back sets, and the schedule makers jam-packed the early portion of the Bulls’ schedule with just that. The team will have two more back-to-backs over the next five games and each will involve overnight travel. So LaVine – who has already missed three of the first seven games – is in line to miss at least two more over the next eight days.
  • Again, I’m all for taking a cautious approach with LaVine to begin this season, but there is no question his spotty availability will make establishing an offensive identity harder. Plus, the less we see him, the harder it is to determine whether certain issues revolve around Donovan’s scheme or his comfort level. For example, The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry recently pointed out the lack of LaVine’s off-ball shotmaking. Someone who has built a reputation around being a dangerous cutter and catch-shoot threat, he’s seen those opportunities drastically decrease thus far this season. Instead, LaVine has been far less versatile on offense and stuck primarily to pick-and-roll play:

LaVine ran pick-and-rolls on just 34.4 percent of his offensive possessions last season, his lowest mark with the Bulls and nearly 9 percentage points less than 2020-21. So far this season, LaVine’s pick-and-roll sets as the ballhandler are at a Bulls career-high 45.8 percent. He currently ranks in the 51st percentile, which Synergy not surprisingly classifies as “average.”

  • The whole post is worth a read, so I’ll encourage you to click the link below. Considering how small the current sample size is, I don’t think it’s anything to panic about right now. But, as I said, it’s hard to know when (or if) he can begin to trend back in the right direction while missing so many games.
  • I already commented on the City Edition uniforms when they first leaked here. But, now that the shorts have been added, I’ll reiterate that these are extremely “meh.” I’m just not sure why the NBA makes each team come up with a new idea every year. Why not recycle some of the old looks? Like, I’d love to see them sport last season’s jersey a couple of more times!
  • Congrats to Ham, but this makes me chuckle considering they are 1-5.
  • So maybe that Spurs loss won’t look so bad after all?
  • #BanWeekends
  • At least they scored some more points …
  • Make it stop.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.