Chicago Bulls burgeoning star Zach LaVine has eliminated most of his weaknesses at least in regards to putting the ball into the basket.
Why can’t he get to the free throw line? He’s doubled his free throw attempts per game this season. Doesn’t he take inefficient shots? About 71 percent of his shot attempts this season have come from 0-3 feet from the basket or behind the 3-point line. Why doesn’t he use his speed and athleticism to relentlessly attack the basket? Over at NBC Sports Chicago, Mark Strotman elaborates on this area of improvement.
LaVine has driven the ball 11.8 times per game, tied with Kawhi Leonard for 24th in the league. But the real stat here is what he’s doing on those drives. LaVine is shooting 66.7 percent on drives, fourth best in the league; he’s also drawing personal fouls on 21.3 percent of those drives, the highest mark of those 56 players by a significant margin – No. 2 is Jimmy Butler, at 16.7 percent. LaVine is drawing 2.5 fouls per game on drives, the most of any player, despite having the 24th most drives per game. Oh, and he’s converting 97.9 percent of his scoring chances when he drives, also the best mark of the 56 players.
It’s not hyperbole to say that no other player in the NBA has driven the ball to the basket better than LaVine.
LaVine’s burst is nuts. Like Derrick-Rose-prior-to-the-knee-injury nuts.
Zach Lavine drives by Willy Hernangomez and dunks.— Ⓜ️arcusD ᴿᴵᴾ ᴹᵃʳᶜᵘˢᴰ² (@_MarcusD3_) October 25, 2018
Can hear the fan say oh ya Zach he can't guard you lol. pic.twitter.com/3Wc0JDKMSG
Willy Hernangomez, the Charlotte Hornet’s center, had no chance once the Hornets switched. But really, few NBA defenders have a chance of staying in front of LaVine with that burst he has.
That shooting percentage on drives is significantly up compared to previous seasons. Last season he shot just 43.1 percent on drives, the season before 42.9 percent (per NBA.com).
Curiosity killed the cat and complacency will kill the 32.3 points per game version of LaVine. An aggressive LaVine is nearly unstoppable right now and if the Bulls want to win games this season they need their best player to remain ultra aggressive offensively.