Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine Might Be that Guy

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 26: Zach LaVine /

Last season Jimmy Butler was that guy for the Chicago Bulls. Can Zach LaVine become that guy this season?

Every team needs THAT guy to reach some level of success in today’s NBA. “THAT guy” is not just defined as the most empowering and dominant player on the court. There are many definitions for “THAT guy”. It’s the player who takes responsibility for his teammates on and off the court. It’s the player who communicates and plays his heart out on defense. True, “THAT guy” may be the most dominant player on the court, however “THAT guy” is also the leader of his team and the player everyone pays money to watch.

The Switch

On February 4th, 2017, Minnesota guard Zach LaVine was diagnosed with an ACL tear and was ruled out for the rest of the season. With all star Jimmy Butler on the market, Minnesota decided to dump their 22 year old guard.

Kris Dunn and a draft pick accompanied LaVine’s move to Chicago for the all star guard. While LaVine left a team with talent, he joined a team with opportunity. With Jimmy Butler gone, the Chicago Bulls traded away their last star.

This team’s roster is now comprised of young players with much room for development. The 22 year old LaVine suddenly became the player with the most hype and potential on the roster.

The Return

As the 2017-2018 season started, the Chicago Bulls opened up a little slowly at first but have started to pick up steam as the season wore on. Rookie sensation Lauri Markkanen has made a name for himself in Chicago as one of the most promising young players on the roster. On January 13th, 2018, the budding star made his long awaited debut.

In his first game back from an ACL tear, Zach LaVine went for 14 points and 2 assists in 20 minutes of court time. Since LaVine has returned to the court, the Bulls have taken on a new identity. They have been much more assertive on both ends of the court which shows they have been playing with new found motivation.

LaVine has looked incredibly healthy with no signs of rust even asking for more minutes recently. He has been extremely active and aggressive on offense, looking to attack the rim and score the basketball.

In 21.0 minutes a game thus far in the season, Zach LaVine is averaging 14.2 ppg, 2.5 apg, and 4.8 rpg. LaVine’s player efficiency rating is at 16.1 so far this year, which is 2.6 higher than his career average. Bulls fans can expect Zach LaVine’s presence to be felt more and more on the court with his minutes only looking to increase as the Bulls try and keep their playoff hopes alive.

A Leader?

Zach LaVine is only 22 years old, on the verge of turning 23. After his first couple of seasons in the association, people noticed his talent. People noticed that this guy had a chance to be a solid basketball player. Perhaps an all star one day, but no one knew for sure. Too much talent was in Minnesota for LaVine to be recognized as a great player.

The trade to the Chicago Bulls might have been one of the best things that could have happened to such a young player. An opportunity has opened itself up for him. This opportunity is not only put up better statistics and get more recognition. This opportunity is to be the leader of this team and cement himself as a great player in the NBA.

Next: Chicago Bulls lose a tough game against the Lakers

No one knows for sure whether LaVine will pan out to be this great leader. Bulls fans, however, can be hopeful from the sample size he has displayed thus far in Chicago. The Bulls have begun the process of rebuilding their franchise. Their first step is to find THAT guy, which is the opportunity Zach LaVine has come across. Now it remains whether to be seen if he can reach out and make the most out of this opportunity.