3 Players that could make Chicago Bulls contenders next season

Zach LaVine, Coby White, Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Coby White, Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

1. Zach LaVine

On June 22, it will be six years since the Chicago Bulls received Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen for Jimmy Butler (and Justin Patton). Over these past six years, LaVine has grown into a star in Chicago, moving past his reputation as a dunker and joining the NBA’s elite as a top scorer.

Zach has shown that he truly is one of the biggest offensive threats in the league, with an ability to score from anywhere on the court. He has shown this, especially during his last three years, where he has truly seen that inflection point and become a star. He has averaged 25.4 points per game over this time while shooting 48.9% from the field and 39.4% from deep on high volume.

Zach Lavine is the most important player for the Bulls’ success as their best player.

One of the main critiques that Zach has faced as a player is that he has never done this on a winning team. Zach has played a total of four playoff games in his career, all in the disappointing series against the Milwaukee Bucks. He then signed a max contract extension for 5 years and $215.2 million.

This has been a point of contention, as some believe that while he is a great player, he may not be playing well enough to be a max player. To that point, it is clear that Zach can be exactly that. LaVine was electric after the all-star break, averaging 27 points per game on efficient shooting, and that was mainly due to significantly better shot selection.

LaVine used to settle for contested threes far too often, but towards the end of the season, he began to use his athleticism to drive to the basket and finish inside. This added a new dimension to his game that simply can’t be defended by one player. The damage that LaVine can do off the drive opens up opportunities for his own threes, as well as open shots for his teammates.

As LaVine enters his prime, he has an opportunity to change the narrative of his career. Instead of an excellent player who put up empty stats, LaVine has the chance to be the top dog on a winning basketball team, if he takes the responsibility and follows through. It is a huge task, but one that Zach has to be willing to accept to truly elevate the Bulls next season.

There are still so many questions surrounding the team, especially since the Bulls’ top players are likely not all going to be there next season. It is unclear whether LaVine will be playing with DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, or neither at all, but it still does not change the fact that Zach has to emerge as the clear top player on the team and set himself on a path to bring the Bulls back into the Eastern Conference title race.

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