As the Chicago Bulls continue to show signs of changing the narrative of their poor season, I continue to ask myself one question: How good is Zach Lavine?
Since the start of February, Lavine has averaged 25.5 points, 5.6 assists, is shooting 54% from the field and 49% from three. For the season, his scoring numbers are way up as well, but he may just recently be starting to turn the corner on his career.
When watching Lavine torch the Boston Celtics for 42 points on Saturday, I was not at all surprised. He’s shown flashes of brilliance and has never lacked in athleticism. In the NBA, the ability to score with ease is not something that’s easy to find. When Lavine is right, not many players in the league can scores as easy as him. He has the ability to shoot from anywhere and can play above the rim with his ridiculous vertical leaping.
So, what’s the problem then? Shouldn’t he just be great then? Well, there’s one major thing that separates great players from good players. That thing is consistency. Lavine has shown flashes all season, but on a nightly basis he has not been consistent enough to be a star, yet.
In the month of November, when the Bulls won just three games, Lavine shot 39% from the field and 25% from three. To make matters worse, he averaged 3.8 turnovers and didn’t play much defense. This led to the firing of his head coach and the beginning of a lost season.
Since then, Lavine has slowly been improving, but this month he has been playing at his highest level. Because of his play, the addition of Otto Porter, and the explosion from Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls are starting to play good basketball. So, this lingering question arises again: How good is Zach Lavine?
Is Lavine the player who just dominated Boston and has been leading by example to the younger players, or is he the player who was terrible in November and let the season slip away? Right now, it’s hard to tell.
The rest of this season will be important for Lavine. The two-time Slam Dunk champion will be building his own identity and showing what kind of basketball player he truly is. On top of that, he will be trying to change a losing culture. It’s not an easy task for a 23-year-old player, but it is something Lavine certainly has the ability to accomplish.