The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green is never one to mince words, so whether he’s dishing a compliment or insult, it’s coming from the heart.
Green was recently asked about Chicago Bulls star and fellow Olympian Zach LaVine. As usual, Green didn’t hold back. He dropped nothing but praise for LaVine as the two Olympians prepare to square off on Friday night when the Bulls begin their west coast road trip against the 10-1 Golden State Warriors.
Marcus Thompson II and Darnell Mayberry of the Athletic had an informative report about the friendship between LaVine and Green which was born in Tokyo at the Olympics.
According to the report, Green said:
When you look at a guy as talented as Zach LaVine, the reality is nobody has taught him how to be Zach LaVine and not treated as this young kid who’s up and coming in the league who’s trying to figure it out. Like, no. You’re a fucking All-Star. You figured it out. You deserve respect. And most importantly, you have the respect of your peers. Embody that. Because if you don’t embody that, people can see through that and it will be used against you. He’s one of those guys,” Green continued, “that’s extremely talented, extremely confident, but doesn’t really know how good he truly is, what he brings to the table. So it’s just trying to teach him that. You are the face of a franchise, bro. How do you be that? He’s never been on a team where anyone can really, truly teach him that. Or else he would’ve been that.
Does Green still believe that, or is this more a pre-2021-22-Bulls comment? In many ways, another of Green’s NBA buddies, DeMar DeRozan seems to be modeling the way in this regard.
Taking a Look at Zach LaVine’s Season Through 11 Games
The Bulls are off to a fast start. They’re 8-3 through the first 11 games of the season and that’s part of the reason the matchup with the 10-1 Warriors is such a big game.
LaVine shooting efficiency numbers are a little down from where they were last season. LaVine is shooting just over 49% from the field and 90% from the free-throw line. LaVine’s three-point shooting is the area of his game that has seen the steepest decline. He’s only making a tad under 34% of his three-point shots compared to the career-best 42% he shot last season.
Most are blaming LaVine’s injured thumb on the decreased three-point percentage. What’s been impressive is the fact that LaVine’s scoring average hasn’t seen much of a dip. LaVine averaged 27.4 points per game compared to 25.9 so far this season. Along with DeRozan, the Bulls have a dynamic duo. If LaVine’s thumb can heal up and his shooting can get back on track, the Windy City’s tandem could get even more potent.
Previewing the Bulls at Warriors
The Bulls will be playing without center Nikola Vucevic. Veteran center Tony Bradley is expected to start in Vucevic’s place with Alize Johnson serving as his primary back-up. Rookie big man Marko Simonovic was called up from Windy City Bulls to add depth.
That position will be a key point in this game. The Warriors have been on a roll despite playing without Klay Thompson and James Wiseman. Steph Curry is having another MVP-caliber season, and Green is remaining the same sort of glue guy that he’s been throughout his career.
The Bulls must find a way to slow Curry down, while finding a way to win the battle on the glass. Limiting second-chance opportunities will only give more chances for re-load three-point attempts from Curry, and that can be bad news.