Analyst Has Bold Prediction for Zach LaVine’s Role in Bulls 2021 Offense

Zach LaVine

Getty Zach LaVine dribbles the ball against Norman Powell during a March 14 game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

There’s no doubt that the Chicago Bulls improved this offseason, but there is some concern as to how long it will take the team to gel and string together wins.

It’s likely that the timeline for the aforementioned cohesion could revolve around All-Star guard Zach LaVine.

As both the team’s best and longest-tenured player, he’s tasked with leading the charge this year in the Windy City.

Given that he’s coming off of his first All-Star campaign, and career-best averages of 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, there’s reason to be optimistic that he’s ready for the task at hand.

But some have taken it a step further, suggesting that Zach LaVine will only continue getting better this season.

That much would certainly elevate the Chicago Bulls to contending status, especially if he improves on both ends.


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Bailey Predicts Another Career Season for LaVine

In a September 30 article for Bleacher Report, Andy Bailey made a bold prediction for Zach LaVine’s 2021-2022.

After averaging a career-high 4.9 assists per game, he predicts that the All-Star guard will average even more:

In 2021-22, though, LaVine should have significantly more help carrying the scoring load…That should translate to more playmaking opportunities for LaVine, who averaged a career-high 4.9 assists per game last season.

Bailey cited the Chicago Bulls’ new-look offense, which features a number of scoring options in Lonzo Ball and All-Star veterans DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

He’s not wrong.

LaVine will be playing with the most talented roster ever assembled around him across his eight seasons in the NBA.

But will head coach Billy Donovan task him with being the primary, or even secondary, playmaker?

Given point guard Lonzo Ball’s recent comments about his role with the team, that much seems unlikely.


Ball Returning to Point Guard Role

When speaking with the media at his September 27 introductory press conference, Lonzo Ball confirmed that he’d be returning to the role of “traditional point guard” with the Chicago Bulls.

Previously, he’d taken a backseat to point forward Zion Williamson as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.

But after a conversation with head coach Billy Donovan, he’s shifting (via NBC Sports) back to primary playmaker:

Just getting back to being more of a traditional point guard where I’m comfortable at…Last year was different for me, but whatever coach asks me, I’m going to do to the best of my abilities. This year, it’s looking like I’m going to be playing point guard a lot, so that’s what I’m trying to do.

So should fans look at Zach LaVine to fall in line behind Ball as the next playmaking option, whereas Bailey suggests, he may push his passing to the next level?

Not so fast. Because the Chicago Bulls are boasting an even better passer in four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.

But that doesn’t mean Zach LaVine’s any less of a number one option on offense going into the 2021-2021 season.


Who’s Taking the Last Shot?

Andy Bailey’s colleague at Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley, wrote a piece on October 7th, exploring who should take the “final shot” for all 30 NBA teams.

When it came to the Chicago Bulls, he went with Zach LaVine:

The Bulls are trying to build a playoff participant around LaVine, but no one is usurping him as the franchise focal point. He dominated Chicago’s clutch field-goal attempts last season, and ripping those attempts away will not be part of their pitch for him to stay long term.

It makes sense that, with two above-average facilitators like DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, that the All-Star guard and Bulls best player, could get the last look.

According to NBA.com’s Stats Tracking Page, LaVine attempted 87 shots in crunch time last season.

And he connected on 34 of those, which equals out 118 points on 39% shooting, and lead Chicago by a wide margin.

So if the ball is in Zach LaVine’s hands next season, particularly at the end of games, look for him to call his own shot.

And if last season is any indicator, make it more times than not.

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