Zach LaVIne’s streak finally ended against the Boston Celtics, but Chicago Bulls fans should be thrilled about what this says for the future.
Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls fell to 4-11 as the Boston Celtics handled them fairly easily, beating them 111-82. It was not a game the Bulls were expected to win (as is normally the case) so the beatdown from Boston should not have caught anyone off guard. What did come as a surprise, though, was the end of a streak.
Zach LaVine had scored at least 20 points in each of his last 15 games, dating back to last season. On Wednesday, the Bulls sat their starters when the game was fully out of reach and LaVine ended the night with just 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Following the game, LaVine expressed his honest concern about how much is on his shoulders at the moment. Via Bleacher Report:
"“If I’m not getting 25 or 30, it’s not looking too good.”"
Now, on the surface, one might take this quote and run the opposite direction. You could argue that he’s begging for help, and I get it. He doesn’t have a whole lot of help with the current state of the team. Guys that have stepped up on other occasions like Justin Holiday, Antonio Blakeney or even Ryan Arcidiacono didn’t necessarily come through against Boston.
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Offensively, LaVine hasn’t had much help. But, if you look at it from another perspective, there is much hope to be had.
Carter did score in double figures against the Celtics, and has been showing a lot of signs that he can be the center of the future for the Bulls. If Carter and LaVine have gotten off to impressive starts without the help of Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis or Kris Dunn, imagine what they will do later on.
Right now, the pressure is all on LaVine. He knows it. He feels it. He wouldn’t say something like that if he wasn’t feeling it.
Once those three come back, LaVine knows he has a trio of guys who can collectively average 40-to-50 points per game by his side. The pressure will be off, especially because Markkanen is such an offensive force and is still developing.
LaVine will be starting next to Markkanen (and maybe Portis, depending on what Fred Hoiberg does with his lineup) and together, those two will give opposing teams a much different look than what they are presenting right now.
Currently, other teams are not afraid of a Parker-LaVine duo. But, they will in fact have a much bigger problem on their hands when it becomes Markkanen-LaVine. Not to mention, Portis offers a totally different aspect in the paint coming off the bench — especially compared to guys like Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio.
It can only get better once the Bulls get healthy. Will they put it all together this season? Maybe. It could take some time. But, then again, that’s what many fans may be hoping for — one more year finishing with a high lottery pick.
Once the Bulls are healthy and clicking, they should be a whole lot more enjoyable to watch — and that’s in large part to how well LaVine is playing. He has emerged. He has broken out. It’s only the beginning.