Chicago Bulls: Player grades through the All-Star break

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 9: Robin Lopez #42 of the Chicago Bulls hhi-fives teammates during the game against the Chicago Bulls on February 9, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 9: Robin Lopez #42 of the Chicago Bulls hhi-fives teammates during the game against the Chicago Bulls on February 9, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

Zach LaVine

Last but not least, let’s talk about Zach LaVine.

LaVine came into this season under heavy scrutiny. He signed a 4-year, $78 million deal with the Bulls over the summer without proving he’s capable of being a lead guy on a winning team. He still has a long way to go before earning the respect of every NBA fan, but he’s definitely making progress.

On the season, LaVine is averaging 23 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.9 percent shooting from 3-point land. He’s also averaging career-highs in rebounds (4.5 per game) and assists (4.4 per game).

LaVine’s offensive game is more advanced than it ever has been before. He’s finally moved on from simply relying on his athleticism to get him scoring opportunities and instead has found ways to use his athleticism in creative ways. He’s really good at commanding the pick-and-roll, he’s solid at creating for others and he’s electric around the hoop.

There’s still some fuel out there for those that love to hate on his contract, though. He hasn’t taken huge strides in improving on the defensive end. He has the defensive ability to lock down opposing ball-handlers, but he often gets lost when playing team defense. Still, complaining about LaVine’s defense feels like a desperate attempt to find something wrong with a 23-year-old kid who’s incredibly gifted on offense.

As the Bulls improve as a team (and as LaVine matures), his team defense will likely get closer to where it needs to be. Zach’s one of the hardest workers in the league, so there’s no reason to believe his growth will be stagnant.

Next. 3 best point guard targets for 2019. dark

Grade: B+