3. Zach LaVine, Shooting Guard
One player that was about to return from a lingering quad injury for the Chicago Bulls before the NBA season was placed on a hiatus was 6-foot-6 shooting guard Zach LaVine. The recently turned 25-year-old uber-athletic two-guard was having a very impressive season before head coach Jim Boylen took him out of the rotation for a few games due to injury.
LaVine just missed out on his first career All-Star selection. In 60 games played, he averaged 25.5 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc. He was on pace to post a career-best box plus/minus rating of 2.5 and also a career high .092 win shares per 48 minutes.
While LaVine was still a net negative presence on the defensive end of the floor, he was starting to improve both with his on-ball defense and off-ball awareness. He wasn’t getting trapped by screens as much and managed to get hung up less on the pick-and-roll defense. There were a lot of good signs he was putting on display as a two-way rising star shooting guard before he went down with this quad injury.
Moreover, LaVine needs to continue to develop as a distributor and get smarter with his shot selection. The ability of LaVine to hit tough shots and his tendency to turn the ball over in some games more often than assisting his teammates are both well known. The fact that he was improving in both departments in some regard this season makes it that much worse that it was placed on pause.