Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine got roasted on Twitter, but can it fuel him?

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine got more than he bargained for when he responded to a negative tweet from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood restaurant.

The Chicago Bulls made big headlines this summer when they decided to match an offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings on guard Zach LaVine. What resulted was a four-year, $78 million deal for LaVine to stay with the Bulls. After that, the doubters came out of the woodwork to explain why LaVine wasn’t worth the hefty price the Bulls agreed to pay.

LaVine was criticized in the past for his shaky defense and lack of scoring. He only played 24 games with the Bulls last year because he was recovering from a significant knee injury, but he didn’t really impress in those games. LaVine averaged 16.7 points per game last season while his field goal percentage was an unimpressive 38.3 percent.

On one hand, he was coming off a big injury and playing for a team that lacked real scoring talent. But LaVine’s numbers hardly screamed that the Bulls must match any offer sheet for him as he entered this offseason as a restricted free agent. In came Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, a Maryland restaurant known for their crabcakes and apparently, their Twitter prowess.

Whoever runs Jimmy’s Twitter account was engaging in some friendly banter with a Bulls fan on Monday when LaVine was brought up. After a short back and forth in which Jimmy’s asserted that the Bulls wasted $78 million, LaVine himself responded. See the Tweets below:

You may have noticed that the original Tweet mentioned Jimmy’s getting into an online battle with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). That’s because Jimmy’s went nuclear on PETA Monday morning after the group put up an anti-seafood billboard in Maryland. The account brought up the allegations of PETA itself slaughtering animals, and it wasn’t pretty.

What stings about this Tweet is that Jimmy’s is right, LaVine isn’t very good on defense. His defensive ranking last season was 114.8, putting him at 508 out of 540 players. While it’s a small sample size because of LaVine’s limited appearances, he has a history of having an awful defensive rating. His best rating was in 2015-2016 when he came in at a terrible 109.5.

Related Story. 5 bold predictions for Zach LaVine in 2018-2019. light

LaVine got wrapped up in all of this just because a random Bulls fan brought up Jimmy’s restaurant and now everyone seems to be having a good chuckle at the guard’s expense. However, I definitely think something positive could come from this online roasting.

It’s not all bad for LaVine. He’s fully healed from a torn ACL that he suffered in the 2016-2017 season as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he didn’t play well last year, he’ll be starting alongside a promising young frontcourt in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

LaVine should still pull motivation from this in my opinion. I was kind of surprised how big of a story this became. National media outlets picked up the small Twitter interaction between LaVine and a regional seafood restaurant. At some level, no matter how rich or famous he is, it has to bother the young guard that this news spread so far and wide.

LaVine now knows what everyone thinks about his defense and that they basically take him as a joke on that side of the court. Like many professional athletes, LaVine is competitive. The Tweet may just fuel that spirit within him. Here’s what he had to say after critics declared he wasn’t worth his big contract (Via ESPN):

"I’m used to people sleeping on me, and I’m also used to waking them up as well. I’m happy that I have this contract, and I’m happy that I have a little extra motivation to go out there and prove it to some people that don’t believe in me."

While LaVine may not be in the upper echelon of defenders in the NBA, he can focus on being a better defender this upcoming season; it will make him a much more complete player. He has the athleticism to excel on that side of the court, but it’s never fully clicked for him. Maybe getting mocked by crabcake specialists is the motivation he needed.