Chicago Bulls: 3 most underappreciated players from 2019-20 team

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

1. Zach LaVine, Shooting Guard

Even though he is likely the brightest star on this Bulls team, as it stands now, the 25-year-old Washington native and 6-foot-6 and 180 pound shooting guard Zach LaVine still doesn’t get all the recognition he deserves. That very point shows up in the fact that he wasn’t selected as a reserve guard on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team this year.

NBA All-Star Weekend was hosted at the United Center in Chicago, and LaVine is having a career-year, but he still wasn’t selected. That is partially due to how the Bulls front office and coaching staff became one of the laughing stocks of the league, along with the likes of the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks. It is also due to the perception that LaVine is nothing more than a stat sheet stuffer.

But a lot of the progress that LaVine made in his game this season prior to the COVID-19-hiatus proves that is not entirely true. LaVine played in 60 games this season (starting in all of them). In those 60 games played, LaVine averaged 25.5 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks. He shot 45.0 percent from the field, 38.0 percent from beyond the arc, and 80.2 percent from the free-throw line.

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All of this resulted in LaVine registering a career-best 2.5 box plus/minus rating, 2.4 value over replacement player rating, 4.0 total win shares, 106 offensive rating/110 defensive rating, 2.0 percent steal rate, and around a 57.0 true shooting percentage. His three-point shooting was six percent better than the league average, free-throw four percent better, and his true shot attempts were 13 percent better.

LaVine had his most efficient year in the NBA to date, and he should hopefully soon start getting the recognition he deserves outside of the Windy City for doing more than highlight-reel dunks.