Zach LaVine Sounds Off on Bulls Coach: ‘Not Everybody’s Like That’

Billy Donovan

Michael Reaves/Getty Images Billy Donovan

Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine recently returned after missing the last three games before the NBA All-Star break with a left knee injury. LaVine was cleared and was allowed to participate in the All-Star festivities and return to the Bulls.

The Bulls are certainly happy to have him back as LaVine has been playing the best basketball of his career over the last two seasons. His play during that time has earned him two straight trips to the All-Star game. Something LaVine hadn’t done in his first six seasons in the NBA.

Best Coach for LaVine

The jump in the 26-year old’s play has come under head coach Billy Donovan, who is in his second season with the Bulls. During LaVine’s first season with Donovan, he averaged career highs in points per game(27.4), rebounds per game(5.0), assists per game(4.9), three-point shooting(41.9%), and field goal percentage(50.7%).

Their first season together was a rebuilding process for the Bulls. Before LaVine’s second season with Donovan, the team added All-Star DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso. With the new additions, LaVine’s numbers have taken a little bit of a hit, but he’s still been effective averaging 24.5 points per game while shooting 48.1% from the field and 39.8% from three.

With the kind of jump LaVine has enjoyed in his play under Donovan, it’s no surprise that he’s fond of his coach. LaVine expressed how he feels about Donovan during an interview with Kevin Powell on WGN Radio.

“Billy’s (Donovan) the best coach in the world for me,” LaVine said. “I mean, I’ve gotten along with him more than any other coach I’ve had in my career and I’ve had a good amount of them. Billy’s great. I talk and text with him all the time. The main thing about him, he cares about you more as a person than a basketball player.

“He worries more about how you’re doing as a person and cares about that more than basketball and that’s what I really appreciate, ’cause to be honest not everybody’s like that in the world of sports, so it’s a breath of fresh air once you can actually have a friend as a coach.”

Fan Excitement

So far this season LaVine and Donovan have helped guide the Bulls to a 39-23 record and have the team in line to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017, the season before LaVine joined the team. The Bulls are also on track to win at least 50 games for the first time since 2014-15.

The success the team has sustained this season is new for LaVine, who has never made the playoffs. He also mentioned that he’s noticed a difference in the fans this season.

“Since being here, obviously the excitement and everything has grown but to a point now where it’s like I haven’t seen it before. When the Bulls are good and competitive, I think the world is a lot better and sports is a lot better ’cause it’s one of the best franchises ever. And they’ve been, I don’t want to say spoiled in a way, but six champions in six appearances is something that doesn’t happen. Getting back to competitiveness and having the fans go out there and see a winning basketball team is big for me ’cause that’s all I’ve wanted to do since being here.”

LaVine has looked solid in the three games since his return from injury. He’s averaged 23.3 points per game while shooting 46.2% from the field and 36.8% from three. LaVine’s return has been great for a Bulls team that has been so shorthanded this season. If the Bulls are going to make any type of serious playoff push they’ll need LaVine at his best.



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Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
2 months ago

The rookie out of Arkansas got the start due to S mSatchup purposes. He got off to a good start, scoring six points in seven minute

Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson
2 months ago

The rookie out of Arkansas got the start due to S matchup purposes. He got off to a good start, scoring six points in seven minute

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