Writer: Jared White
Zach LaVine returned Saturday night after a long recovery from a torn ACL. There was a lot of excitement surrounding this game, and especially from Chicago Bulls fans. One reason for the excitement around the league is the return of one of the greatest dunkers the NBA has ever seen, but mainly to see if Zach LaVine still has the potential and skill set he had as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Last season in Minnesota, in a short 47 games, Zach LaVine averaged 18.9 PPG 3.4 RPG and 3.0 APG. But LaVine was only 21 years old and the third option on his team. Now he could very well be the number one option on a young Chicago Bulls team, and begin his journey to becoming one of the best shooting guards in the NBA.
Another reason for excitement is the Chicago Bulls have won the majority of their games when Nikola Mirotic, who recently returned, is healthy. So it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this team make a late push for the playoffs if LaVine proves to be a great young addition to the team. Their game on Saturday, when LaVine returns, is a good test of their potential as they will be playing a likely playoff bound Detroit Pistons team. Not only will the defensively tough Avery Bradley be guarding LaVine on his first night as a Chicago Bull, but young Lauri Markkanen, and Bobby Portis will be tested against one of the best big-men in the league Andre Drummond.
And finally the return of LaVine could prove to be the deciding factor when it comes to potentially trading Nikola Mirotic. If these two players work well together on the court, and the team continues to play better he will likely stay. But if things do not work out then of course Chicago would listen to offers, and likely find a new home for Mirotic before the dreaded trade deadline. Either way LaVine will stay on the Chicago Bulls and very possibly become the face of the franchise.