Zach LaVine set out his objectives for this upcoming season with the Chicago Bulls, aiming on winning and making the All-Star team.
With All-Star Weekend set to come back to Chicago for the first time in three decades this February, the two-time slam dunk champion is certainly eyeing this year’s festivities. But not just the ones on Saturday night.
Which is why even after a career-best 2018-19 season with the Chicago Bulls, he knows what needs to be done in order to reach his goal of becoming an NBA All-Star.
LaVine, 24, averaged career highs of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists with 46.7 percent shooting during his fifth season, but the Bulls were an afterthought with a 22-60 finish.
He appeared in 63 total games while battling an ankle injury and pushing through drama within the organization that resulted in Jim Boylen being promoted to head coach after the firing of Chicago’s previous sideline leader Fred Hoiberg.
Although they didn’t fully see eye to eye in the beginning, Boylen surely has faith in LaVine’s offensive ability, after finishing in the top-20 of NBA scoring, but he is now challenging LaVine to regularly commit to the other end of the court.
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“What I’d like him to be is a two-way player, and I’d also like him to be a guy that shoots eight, nine, 10 free throws a game,” Boylen said.
Bulls forward Thaddeus Young didn’t make the final cut from the Team USA roster this summer to compete in FIBA Basketball World Cup action, but he was able to interact with several of the league’s rising stars such as Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Myles Turner through that experience.
Young sees a common thread between LaVine and that level of talent. Chicago posted the league’s sixth-worst defensive rating last season (112.8), so it’s not only LaVine who is looking to improve defensively but also the team, which gets back to his point of team and individual success being intertwined.
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