chefo wrote:Zach seems like a really good, serious dude. Let's get that out of the way. He doesn't seem like a prima donna, or a spoiled child, but rather a guy who knows he's good, but can't understand why it never translates in the W column.
After his first half season, I opined that the Bulls will inevitably do the stupid thing because of political and marketing purposes and make him a lead guard with super high usage... and if that is the case, the Bulls will not break low/mid 30 Ws while that lasts.
The Wolves tried Zach as a lead/PG for a couple of years, and it drove his coaches insane on top of being an unmitigated disaster. Go lookup Sam Mitchell's comments from way back then about how Zach doesn't know HOW to play ball. He just did not have the technique, or the understanding and just got by on his natural talents.
Zach has obviously put in a ton of work over the years--his jumper and shooting motion is one of the smoothest I've ever seen. When open, he's pretty much money from anywhere within 30 feet. The guy overcame an injury that has wrecked many a career. It shows resilience and dedication.
The problem is not with him, per say... it's how the Bulls have decided to use him and I stand by that old statement. His one biggest weakness is that he does not see the game well, neither on O, nor on D. That's why he can't anticipate what's about to happen, nor see the triple team in the lane when he drives. That's why he does not rotate well on D, or at all many times.
But, he is an insanely talented scorer, if put in the right spots and the only player apart from Lauri on the current team that has 'gravity'. The Dubs pre-Durant showed how you use two players with gravity... and that is, get somebody else (Dray) who moves the ball very well and sees the game, and have these two (Steph and Klay) move constantly, off-ball. That was Kerr's genius and why Mark Jackson couldn't get anywhere with almost the same roster. When you put the ball in the hands on an elite shooter and ask him to create, you actually emphasize his weaknesses (unless they are an all-time great) because he needs to make decisions on the P&R, when to pass, when to drive, etc... and that is with two extremely high IQ players. If you remember, the pre-Kerr Dubs were in essence Klay and Steph taking turns going solo with some David Lee P&R thrown in there. These guys still got numbers, and won some, but a simple change in play style (and Dray + Iggy facilitating) turned them into a dynasty.
That's how Zach has to be used on a good team. The D can't afford to lose him or else he'd be dunking or shooting open 3s all night. He'll have to learn to move off ball and cut and the like, but unlike real-time feel for the game, moving off-ball CAN be taught. And there is evidence to back that up--some of Zach's best games as a Bull came when he was a catch-and-shoot, catch-and-dunk player.
But, the Bulls need a playmaker or two who sees the field well. I was hoping that can be WCJ when he got drafted, but he's been put in the garbage-man role. It's not Lauri--Lauri needs a playmaker more than anybody else on the team. The Bulls need a poor-man's Scottie at the 3 real, real bad, if Coby is to start. In other words, the Bulls need at least two very bright players that touch the ball in good spots a lot. Bam for example, will make Zach look much better, just like a healthy and engaged Otto did for that brief stint.
Anyhow, on topic--I don't see what the NY teams can possibly offer that makes sense for the Bulls. If Zach is used as I described and is a 21 ppg off-ball scorer at 60% TS, he'd be worth the 25-30M he'll get on his next contract, if the cap moves back up. But, Zach as your lead guard and 35% usage is like a homeless-man Harden and that is only good for high lottery most years.
Good informative post, much appreciated. Just curious to see what would you ideally want if Lavine had to be traded. Because no disrespect intended but I feel that both NY teams have enough to make a trade for Lavine. I do agree that Lavine is potentially a 20+ PPG scorer on 60+ TS% if placed on a good team that knows how to use him, which makes him pretty valuable. But like you've mentioned, his deficiencies as a player are pretty serious, and he remains a huge negative on the defensive end, which limits his value as a player to a good team. That being said, I'm curious to see what would you guys see as a good return for Lavine, if you had to trade him.