To (already) keep his knee, the beginning of the season Zach LaVine was postponed for a few days. After today’s four games played, the back of the Bulls is stable, accumulating 22.5 points on average with 44% shooting success and a very good 46% behind the arc.
It’s obviously not perfect, but the player had summer knee surgery and is still looking for his emotions and a certain physical fulfillment. The proof is in the numbers: in 129 minutes, he took just seven shots after taking advantage of a screen away from the ball. It’s not so much…
“There are opportunities for him to play catch-and-shoot,” But Billy Donovan assures The Athletic. “There are times when he makes his life easier. He is incredibly dynamic offensively, with tremendous athleticism. Then, at other times, taking what the defense is offering may be the right solution. We are developing that. »
These seven short shots in four games are a sign that the former Minnesota dunker doesn’t have the legs to play off screens, to be different and make a difference with his speed, his changes of pace and direction.
“I think last season there were situations where he didn’t feel good about cutting”commented his coach. “I tried to limit these situations for him and I tried to manage these moments as much as possible. His knee hindered his movements last year and he managed as best he could. He didn’t decide to play without the screens, saying he doesn’t like them. He doesn’t have the aggressiveness he usually has, either because of a lack of confidence or because he doesn’t have the ability to create spaces. »
Bring variety to his game and the Bulls offense
Is it really important to see Zach LaVine evolve further off the ball, is he more effective one-on-one or in the pick-and-roll? Yes, for some reason. That is to relieve the player in creating and not to put too much pressure on him. In this sense, the arrival of DeMar DeRozan during the 2021 offseason has been good for him.
Then to create variety and shake the opposing defense. The former two-time dunk contest winner is a phenomenal shooter and inevitably, defenders can’t let him get away without consequence. If he wanders across several screens, he can end up creating communication problems with opponents. From then on, either he can take advantage of it, or his teammates can score more easily.
“The difficulty in the NBA is that we see something new in the attack, but as the season goes on, the same actions come back and people notice it”explained Billy Donovan. “A lot of things for him have to happen quite randomly. This is a work in progress that we must also continue as time progresses. »
Fluid and explosive, Zach LaVine has all the attributes to hurt in these situations. But running through screens, as Stephen Curry knows how to do wonders, to create shifts, is physically demanding. The All-Star fullback is only 27 so he’s not old yet, but his knees have been through some injuries and surgeries. Will he have the legs to give himself up in this style? ” I can do anything. I’m training for it.” he says.