2. Zach LaVine
Entering the 2023-24 season, Zach LaVine needed to have one clear goal in mind: assert himself as a true top option and lead the Bulls back into relevance in the East. As the highest-paid player and face of the franchise, anything less would be a disappointment…
… and disappoint, he most certainly has. Through 8 games, LaVine is averaging 22.5 points and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 48% from the field, each of which is the lowest mark he’s posted since his first season in Chicago back in 2017-18 — the same year he was recuperating from a torn ACL injury. It’s not exactly a high bar we’re setting here, is it?
Zach LaVine’s struggles correlate with the Bulls’ inability to be contenders.
As a direct consequence of Zach’s poor play, the Bulls have struggled to pile on wins, even dropping games to some of the worst teams in the NBA. LaVine is currently posting a -0.3 Offensive BPM and a -2.4 Defensive BPM, suggesting he’s been a net negative on both ends of the court, and the eye test would certainly support that assertion.
Zach has undoubtedly been the weak link of the Bulls’ ‘Big 3’ through these first 8 games. We’ll need him to bounce back in a big way if Chicago is to have any hope of salvaging this bad situation. It’s just not realistic to expect a team to remain competitive when 40% of their cap space is tied up into a seemingly disgruntled star and an injured point guard.