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How good is Zach Lavine?

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How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#1 » by transplant » Tue Jun 1, 2021 9:21 pm

Despite the fact that LaVine has been with the Bulls for 4 seasons, I still don't have a good sense for how good an all-around basketball player he is compared to the rest of the league. No doubt part of this is due to the fact that I don't watch all that much non-Bulls basketball.

For the purposes of this exercise, ignore age and contract status. I just want to know how good you think he is...total package. To simplify it a bit, let's talk in terms of 10-player groups. Is he in the 1-10 group (please don't go there)? 11-20? 21-30? 31-40, etc.? Thanks.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#2 » by MrSparkle » Tue Jun 1, 2021 9:52 pm

I think his scoring ability is top-15 with room to improve.

The rest of his game is average.

On the whole, I believe he's top-30 with room to go top-20. Just fringe outside All-NBA (top-15) unless he adds an efficient creation element to his game, which is very far-fetched (but it would make him one of the best players in the league).

I totally don't expect it to happen, but FWIW, veterans have cut down on their turnovers while becoming better at PnR with time. All I know is that Vuc PnR was not looking good.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#3 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 1, 2021 9:59 pm

MrSparkle wrote:I think his scoring ability is top-15 with room to improve.

The rest of his game is average.

On the whole, I believe he's top-30 with room to go top-20. Just fringe outside All-NBA (top-15) unless he adds an efficient creation element to his game, which is very far-fetched (but it would make him one of the best players in the league).

I totally don't expect it to happen, but FWIW, veterans have cut down on their turnovers while becoming better at PnR with time. All I know is that Vuc PnR was not looking good.


I'd probably put him somewhere in the 18-25 range or so.

Needs to trim his turnovers a bit and increase playmaking a bit to be absolutely elite, but he's pretty up there in terms of offensive players. The defensive limitations probably lessen him.

In the end, he needs to do a better job generating wins or even massive differentials in his +/- that show he really impacts the game if he can't generate wins to at least prove he's moving the needle. Feels like that is about defense/playmaking/careless turnovers.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#4 » by HomoSapien » Tue Jun 1, 2021 10:15 pm

If you look at this list, I think you can make an argument for Zach to be somewhere in the 15-20 range.

https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/wizards/2021-ranking-top-20-nba-players-right-now

Devin Booker is ranked 19, but Zach basically had him beat in every meaningful category.

https://stathead.com/basketball/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&player_id1=bookede01&p1yrfrom=2021&player_id2=lavinza01&p2yrfrom=2021
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#5 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 1, 2021 11:06 pm

HomoSapien wrote:If you look at this list, I think you can make an argument for Zach to be somewhere in the 15-20 range.

https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/wizards/2021-ranking-top-20-nba-players-right-now

Devin Booker is ranked 19, but Zach basically had him beat in every meaningful category.

https://stathead.com/basketball/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&player_id1=bookede01&p1yrfrom=2021&player_id2=lavinza01&p2yrfrom=2021


I think he's in that tier starting with Jimmy Butler at 14 and ending with Ben Simmons at 20. I don't know that he's better than any of those guys, but I don't know that he's worse either. I certainly think the 76ers might be better if you swapped Simmons and Zach as an example, and I'm not sure the Suns would be any different swapping Booker and Zach.

Probably not as good as Butler, but I'd trust Zach a lot more offensively. Paul is a guy who's individual stats aren't so great, but every team he goes to sure looks a lot better and every team he leaves sure looks a lot worse, so you have to say he moves the needle quite a bit. Towns is another empty stat guy like Zach, I'd probably rather have Zach at this point. Gobert is better, but you couldn't pick a more opposite player.

Either way I think Zach's probably near the bottom of that group of guys, but that seems like a reasonable group to put him in. Maybe I'm projecting too early and he isn't there yet, but I might take Zion ahead of a few of those guys including Zach right now.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#6 » by GoBlue72391 » Tue Jun 1, 2021 11:19 pm

I'd say he's safely in the top 20 as an overall player, and likely in the top 10 as a pure scorer.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#7 » by DunkenDunk » Tue Jun 1, 2021 11:39 pm

dougthonus wrote:
HomoSapien wrote:If you look at this list, I think you can make an argument for Zach to be somewhere in the 15-20 range.

and I'm not sure the Suns would be any different swapping Booker and Zach.



Sun is definetly better with Booker until Zach/Bulls turns into a winning team that can get to play offs. In last summer bubble Booker was really leading the team from victory to victory.

How about comparing Murray & Jokic vs Zach & Vuc? (Shame that Murray has now acl injury and misses the play offs)
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#8 » by dougthonus » Tue Jun 1, 2021 11:45 pm

DunkenDunk wrote:
dougthonus wrote:
HomoSapien wrote:If you look at this list, I think you can make an argument for Zach to be somewhere in the 15-20 range.

and I'm not sure the Suns would be any different swapping Booker and Zach.



Sun is definetly better with Booker until Zach/Bulls turns into a winning team that can get to play offs. In last summer bubble Booker was really leading the team from victory to victory.

How about comparing Murray & Jokic vs Zach & Vuc? (Shame that Murray has now acl injury and misses the play offs)


Jokic is on a whole different level than Vuc, it isn't even close IMO. I'd take Zach over Murray. I agree that until Zach leads a team to wins he won't get the credit Booker does, and I don't blame anyone who says Booker is better, but Booker wasn't getting wins up until the bubble last year and has got a heck of a cast around him in comparison.

Zach will need to prove he can get wins this season with Vuc for sure though.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#9 » by Leslie Forman » Tue Jun 1, 2021 11:56 pm

It all depends on the shooting numbers. He put up totally anomalistic shooting numbers this year. Are they for real or was it just a one year wonder? I'm highly skeptical, but if he can keep it up, that's gonna be an interesting situation if the team is still losing.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#10 » by dougthonus » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:02 am

Leslie Forman wrote:It all depends on the shooting numbers. He put up totally anomalistic shooting numbers this year. Are they for real or was it just a one year wonder? I'm highly skeptical, but if he can keep it up, that's gonna be an interesting situation if the team is still losing.


I think there is some reason to be skeptical, but there is plenty of reason to believe they are real too. He's been trending upwards for his whole career and from reports of others, his work ethic/focus is extremely high. He has the athleticism / skill where nothing he does really looks like a fluke either.

That said, it was a pretty big bounce from previous years, so maybe it's 70% legit and 30% inflated, at the same time, it isn't out of the question that his numbers next year are actually even better (likely not so much in scoring efficiency, but perhaps in turnovers / passing).

You are right though, Zach needs to help the team get wins or needs to have an unreal +/- where you can conclusively say he is making a big difference in order to get the accolades.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#11 » by WindyCityBorn » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:13 am

GoBlue72391 wrote:I'd say he's safely in the top 20 as an overall player, and likely in the top 10 as a pure scorer.


He is top 5 as a pure scorer if this season was indication of what to expect going forward.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#12 » by WindyCityBorn » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:16 am

Leslie Forman wrote:It all depends on the shooting numbers. He put up totally anomalistic shooting numbers this year. Are they for real or was it just a one year wonder? I'm highly skeptical, but if he can keep it up, that's gonna be an interesting situation if the team is still losing.


If we are still losing he will probably leave and sign with a team that isn’t losing. I don’t think he is a front runner type to ring chase, but I don’t think he wants to be labeled as a loser his entire career either.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#13 » by waffle » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:26 am

it is so nice to have a stone cold scorer on this team. Heck, now we have 2. At the end of the day you have to be able to score in this league, something the bulls have been REALLY mediocre on for a bit. I marvel at his abilities on O.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#14 » by kodo » Wed Jun 2, 2021 1:58 am

He's 27.4 ppg 5 rpg 5 apg on 63% TS%.

Curry in 2019 had almost identical stats:
27.3 ppg 5 rpg 5 apg on 64% TS%.

His isolation efficiency is very high, 91.9% percentile. Up there with Brooklyn Harden (87th), Kyrie (90th), Lillard (89th) and better than Luka (80th) and way ahead of some young guns like Tatum (41st) or Devin Booker (48th).

Efficiency in the other common scoring types is also strong, 82nd percentile P&R Ballhandler...similar to Doncic (82nd) and CP3 (79th).
94th percentile Spot Up shooter. Similar to Kyrie & Curry.

If he does this every year, he's All-NBA easily.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#15 » by PaKii94 » Wed Jun 2, 2021 2:06 am

Lavine as a scorer is easily top 5 I think. It's all the other aspects of his game that he has to improve. I think this year was the first year where his non-scoring factors were neutral instead of huge negatives. The hope is he continues to improve some of those to 'positives' while continuing to be an elite scorer. I think he has another small step he can take in that regards. That would out him in the top 20
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#16 » by Leslie Forman » Wed Jun 2, 2021 2:09 am

dougthonus wrote:I think there is some reason to be skeptical, but there is plenty of reason to believe they are real too. He's been trending upwards for his whole career and from reports of others, his work ethic/focus is extremely high. He has the athleticism / skill where nothing he does really looks like a fluke either.

His shooting numbers really haven't trended upwards at all until this season. He was remarkably consistent his whole career if you remove his rookie and injury comeback years.

'16: .482 2P%, .389 3P%
'17: .515 2P%, .387 3P%
'19: .504 2P%, .374 3P%
'20: .497 2P%, .380 3P%

and then suddenly out of nowhere
'21: .571 2P%, .419 3P%

Has he improved from his previous self? Probably. Is he the new Steph Curry (almost identical shooting numbers)? Highly unlikely. What will he end up doing next season? It's a contract year so you know he'll be trying as hard as he can, but the standard of basketball in this messed up season was really, really low. The lowest standard since the '99 lockout year IMO. So who knows.

Next summer is going to be very interesting one.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#17 » by DuckIII » Wed Jun 2, 2021 2:19 am

He’s probably a top 5 scorer in the league, based on this season.

Over all? I’d say you could make a very defensible argument for him to fall anywhere between 15-25.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#18 » by PaKii94 » Wed Jun 2, 2021 2:31 am

Leslie Forman wrote:
dougthonus wrote:I think there is some reason to be skeptical, but there is plenty of reason to believe they are real too. He's been trending upwards for his whole career and from reports of others, his work ethic/focus is extremely high. He has the athleticism / skill where nothing he does really looks like a fluke either.

His shooting numbers really haven't trended upwards at all until this season. He was remarkably consistent his whole career if you remove his rookie and injury comeback years.

'16: .482 2P%, .389 3P%
'17: .515 2P%, .387 3P%
'19: .504 2P%, .374 3P%
'20: .497 2P%, .380 3P%

and then suddenly out of nowhere
'21: .571 2P%, .419 3P%

Has he improved from his previous self? Probably. Is he the new Steph Curry (almost identical shooting numbers)? Highly unlikely. What will he end up doing next season? It's a contract year so you know he'll be trying as hard as he can, but the standard of basketball in this messed up season was really, really low. The lowest standard since the '99 lockout year IMO. So who knows.

Next summer is going to be very interesting one.


I agree the drastic jump in efficiency is probably an outlier due to covid/no fans but we have to consider Lavine was taking better shots. His ratio of good:bad shots improved and improved efficiency comes along with it. Then add in a little bit of a boost going from an iso centric offense to more ball movement and I think the jump is in line.

Next year I do expect the overall efficiency to dip but the hope is Lavine continues to improve his good:bad shot ratio.

Also I'd add in volume. Efficiency and volume usually go hand in hand. He had a jump in volume I think 2 of those years.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#19 » by Southpaw » Wed Jun 2, 2021 9:11 am

Right now he's somewhere around top 20-25 and at his peak he can be the best scorer on a title contender imo.
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Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#20 » by sco » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:29 pm

I love guys like Zach who have shown the willingness and drive to put in the work to get better at all aspects of the game.

I'd be thrilled with some marginal defense and playmaking this offseason, but if he can help Pat and Coby to improve and set them on a path similar to his, I'll be a fan for life!
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