Zach LaVine has yet to burst the screen
In order to (already) preserve his knee, the start of the season Zach LaVine had been postponed for a few days. After now four matches played, the rear of the Bulls has reassured, compiling 22.5 points on average with 44% success in shooting and a very good 46% behind the arc.
It’s obviously not perfect, but the player has just had summer knee surgery and he’s still looking for his feelings and a certain physical fulfillment. The proof with a number: in 129 minutes, he took only seven shots after taking advantage of a screen away from the ball. It’s not much…
“There are opportunities for him to play catch-and-shoot,” Yet assures Billy Donovan for The Athletic. “There are times when he can make his life easier. He is incredibly dynamic offensively, with enormous athletic qualities. Then, at other times, taking what the defense gives may become the right solution. We are building on that. »
These seven small shots in four games is a sign that the former Minnesota dunker does not yet have the legs to play through the screens, in order to stand out 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 »comments his coach. “I tried to limit these situations for him and tried to manage these moments as best as possible. His knee hampered his movements enormously last year and he managed as best he could. He didn’t decide to play without the screens, claiming he didn’t want them. He didn’t have the aggressiveness he usually possesses, either because of a lack of confidence or because he didn’t have the explosiveness to create spaces. »
Bring variety to his game and to the Bulls offense
Is it really important to see Zach LaVine evolve further from the ball, he who is especially effective in one-on-one or on pick-and-roll? Yes and for several reasons. Already to relieve the player in the creation and not to put too much pressure on him. In this sense, the arrival of DeMar DeRozan during the 2021 offseason has done him good.
Then to create variety and shake up the opposing defense. The former double winner of the dunk contest is a remarkable shooter and inevitably, the defenders cannot let him slip away without consequence. If he wanders among several screens, he can end up creating communication problems among the opponents. From then on, either he will benefit from it, or it will be his teammates who will be able to score more easily.
“The difficulty in the NBA is that we see something new in attack, but as the season progresses, the same actions come back and people notice it”explains Donovan. “A lot of things for him have to happen a little more randomly. It’s a work in progress that we must also continue as the season progresses. »
Fluid and explosive, LaVine has all the qualities to hurt in these situations. But running through screens, as Stephen Curry knows how to do wonderfully, to create shifts, is physically demanding. The All-Star fullback is only 27, so he’s not old, but his knees have already suffered several injuries and operations. Will he really have the legs to give himself in this style? » I can do everything. I’m training for it. » he says.