Image ImageImage Image

How good is Zach Lavine?

Moderators: HomoSapien, Ice Man, DASMACKDOWN, dougthonus, Payt10, fleet, GimmeDat, kulaz3000, AshyLarrysDiaper, RedBulls23, Tommy Udo 6

User avatar
erlim
Assistant Coach
Posts: 4,431
And1: 1,623
Joined: Feb 10, 2009
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#21 » by erlim » Wed Jun 2, 2021 12:30 pm

He is an 88/100 according to NBA2k21
Image
User avatar
dougthonus
Senior Mod - Bulls
Senior Mod - Bulls
Posts: 49,672
And1: 9,487
Joined: Dec 22, 2004
Contact:
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#22 » by dougthonus » Wed Jun 2, 2021 1:39 pm

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.


The percentages aren't necessarily telling the story to me.

To put in context:
**16 to 17 improvement in terms of efficiency (TS% up from 54 to 57), role as low volume efficient off ball player
17 to 18 is a wash due to acl, (basically played as high volume, super inefficient player, and still not back)
**18 to19 back to 17 efficiency, but now as primary shot creator instead of low volume off the ball player
19 to 20 proves 19 isn't a fluke (which was a question) but otherwise mostly a repeat
**20 to 21 big leap forward in efficiency (which we also now question if is a fluke)

In this sense, there is pretty meaningful improvement in the ** years which is each year except for the ACL recovery year and 19 to 20 which stayed the same.
http://linktr.ee/bullsbeat - links to the bullsbeat podcast
@doug_thonus on twitter
User avatar
TheSuzerain
RealGM
Posts: 14,572
And1: 9,375
Joined: Mar 29, 2012

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#23 » by TheSuzerain » Wed Jun 2, 2021 1:59 pm

sco wrote: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!

Lavine has shown no ability to get better at aspects of the game other than scoring.

He was better this year because his scoring was absurdly good for a long stretch of the season. Not because he had an epiphany and was suddenly playing well-rounded basketball.

He's probably in the 25-30 range today.
drosestruts
Lead Assistant
Posts: 5,260
And1: 1,937
Joined: Apr 05, 2012
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#24 » by drosestruts » Wed Jun 2, 2021 2:15 pm

TheSuzerain wrote:
sco wrote: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!

Lavine has shown no ability to get better at aspects of the game other than scoring.

He was better this year because his scoring was absurdly good for a long stretch of the season. Not because he had an epiphany and was suddenly playing well-rounded basketball.

He's probably in the 25-30 range today.


I think Zach clearly improved his playmaking, ability to handle double teams, and defense this season.

I also don't take much umbrage with the 25-30 ranking. Just feel like, even if not big improvements, its wrong to say the only parts of his game to improve were scoring.
User avatar
Leslie Forman
General Manager
Posts: 9,887
And1: 5,949
Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Location: 1700 Center Dr, Ames, IA 50011

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#25 » by Leslie Forman » Wed Jun 2, 2021 5:07 pm

dougthonus wrote:To put in context:
**16 to 17 improvement in terms of efficiency (TS% up from 54 to 57), role as low volume efficient off ball player
17 to 18 is a wash due to acl, (basically played as high volume, super inefficient player, and still not back)
**18 to19 back to 17 efficiency, but now as primary shot creator instead of low volume off the ball player
19 to 20 proves 19 isn't a fluke (which was a question) but otherwise mostly a repeat
**20 to 21 big leap forward in efficiency (which we also now question if is a fluke)

In this sense, there is pretty meaningful improvement in the ** years which is each year except for the ACL recovery year and 19 to 20 which stayed the same.

You could do this kind of esoteric hyperanalysis adding "context" for every single player (god knows we've seen enough of it on Lauri here), in the end, the results have been remarkably similar with very little variance until this season.

At some point, a guy settles into what he is. Was this season really Zach's settling down, or was it the several seasons before? We'll see. Whatever context you try to add, you have to admit this is an anomalistic gain for a guy at his age and experience largely playing the same role he has the last few years, with no rule changes (except of course, for the COVID-related ones).
User avatar
dougthonus
Senior Mod - Bulls
Senior Mod - Bulls
Posts: 49,672
And1: 9,487
Joined: Dec 22, 2004
Contact:
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#26 » by dougthonus » Wed Jun 2, 2021 6:23 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
dougthonus wrote:To put in context:
**16 to 17 improvement in terms of efficiency (TS% up from 54 to 57), role as low volume efficient off ball player
17 to 18 is a wash due to acl, (basically played as high volume, super inefficient player, and still not back)
**18 to19 back to 17 efficiency, but now as primary shot creator instead of low volume off the ball player
19 to 20 proves 19 isn't a fluke (which was a question) but otherwise mostly a repeat
**20 to 21 big leap forward in efficiency (which we also now question if is a fluke)

In this sense, there is pretty meaningful improvement in the ** years which is each year except for the ACL recovery year and 19 to 20 which stayed the same.

You could do this kind of esoteric hyperanalysis adding "context" for every single player (god knows we've seen enough of it on Lauri here), in the end, the results have been remarkably similar with very little variance until this season.


I disagree with that. The improvement from 16 to 17 in efficiency was real (though probably not uncommon for someone at that stage of development.

The improvement from 18 to 19 in volume / role was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

The improvement from 20 to 21 in terms of efficiency was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

This isn't me pushing at weird edge cases You don't think the change in 2019 where he becomes a high volume, on the ball player is a really big improvement? I think it's huge and obviously huge, few players could do that.

You acknowledge his improvement in this season to very efficient player was huge as well.

At some point, a guy settles into what he is. Was this season really Zach's settling down, or was it the several seasons before? We'll see. Whatever context you try to add, you have to admit this is an anomalistic gain for a guy at his age and experience largely playing the same role he has the last few years, with no rule changes (except of course, for the COVID-related ones).


It absolutely might be an anomaly that he shot this well, and I don't really care about the exact percentages, it's really whether he can keep his efficiency above 60% TS% and maintain a very high volume. If he does that, then he's an elite scorer, the question afer that is mainly whether he can improve in other areas to complement the scoring IMO and whether the Bulls can prove to generate wins.

I don't know how you could think low usage off the ball zach in 2016 and 2017 is more or less just the same thing as on the ball, dominant shot creator, facer of double teams, high usage, forced into taking all the team bail out shots at the last second Zach because the percentages were similar.

He's had a pretty steady climb that was interrupted once by the ACL and had a flattening year between 2019 and 2020 where he further established himself as a shot creator but was pretty level overall.
http://linktr.ee/bullsbeat - links to the bullsbeat podcast
@doug_thonus on twitter
User avatar
Leslie Forman
General Manager
Posts: 9,887
And1: 5,949
Joined: Apr 21, 2006
Location: 1700 Center Dr, Ames, IA 50011

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#27 » by Leslie Forman » Wed Jun 2, 2021 7:57 pm

dougthonus wrote:I disagree with that. The improvement from 16 to 17 in efficiency was real (though probably not uncommon for someone at that stage of development.

Sure, it was real (not sure why it'd be "fake") but it wasn't that major. Going from .548TS% to .576TS% is just natural year-to-year variance for most guys and like you said is quite common with that XP gain at that stage of their career.

dougthonus wrote:The improvement from 18 to 19 in volume / role was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

That '18 season was the big volume change. His USG% went up to 29.5%, which he has not deviated much from since (31.0% this season). He's largely played the same role his entire time here.

That truncated first season helped him adjust to the role change, whilst also being his recovery year. If he was 100%, I'm guessing he probably would have done something like 22ish PPG on 55ish TS his fourth year. Slight volume gain, slight efficiency loss. A safe assumption, IMO. Then he makes mild gains and variations after that.

Players making a big leap in their 3rd/4th healthy year is not remarkable at all. Beal made an even bigger gain after his injury plagued 3rd and 4th seasons, and we obviously saw what Jimmy did after the turf toe season.

dougthonus wrote:The improvement from 20 to 21 in terms of efficiency was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

And this is the crux of it. Now we're talking about a leap that simply doesn't happen in this league. Becoming Steph Curry in your 7th overall, 6th healthy season with no major change in role or team is very rare. This past season of his is like the type of improvement someone makes from their rookie year to their second or third year. (even bigger compared to what Bulls draftees have been doing lately)

Even with the "context" you're adding, nothing up to 2020 is unusual or rare at all among young high volume scorers. If you look at a lot of similar scorers once they get to their third or fourth healthy season, they basically did the same thing of XP gain + bigger on ball role + more shots = largely steady efficiency with mild year-to-year variance. Take out the ACL tear and Zach's progression is pretty bang on stock 4-5 year gains for a young scorer and not particularly remarkable. His steady efficiency after the role and volume changes on both teams would suggest that's about what he'd top out around after his first real very mild gains season, which was 2020.

But 2021? That is rarer than a plate of tartare.
User avatar
dougthonus
Senior Mod - Bulls
Senior Mod - Bulls
Posts: 49,672
And1: 9,487
Joined: Dec 22, 2004
Contact:
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#28 » by dougthonus » Wed Jun 2, 2021 8:39 pm

Leslie Forman wrote:
dougthonus wrote:I disagree with that. The improvement from 16 to 17 in efficiency was real (though probably not uncommon for someone at that stage of development.

Sure, it was real (not sure why it'd be "fake") but it wasn't that major. Going from .548TS% to .576TS% is just natural year-to-year variance for most guys and like you said is quite common with that XP gain at that stage of their career.

dougthonus wrote:The improvement from 18 to 19 in volume / role was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

That '18 season was the big volume change. His USG% went up to 29.5%, which he has not deviated much from since (31.0% this season). He's largely played the same role his entire time here.

That truncated first season helped him adjust to the role change, whilst also being his recovery year. If he was 100%, I'm guessing he probably would have done something like 22ish PPG on 55ish TS his fourth year. Slight volume gain, slight efficiency loss. A safe assumption, IMO. Then he makes mild gains and variations after that.

Players making a big leap in their 3rd/4th healthy year is not remarkable at all. Beal made an even bigger gain after his injury plagued 3rd and 4th seasons, and we obviously saw what Jimmy did after the turf toe season.

dougthonus wrote:The improvement from 20 to 21 in terms of efficiency was very real and uncommon and few players make that step.

And this is the crux of it. Now we're talking about a leap that simply doesn't happen in this league. Becoming Steph Curry in your 7th overall, 6th healthy season with no major change in role or team is very rare. This past season of his is like the type of improvement someone makes from their rookie year to their second or third year. (even bigger compared to what Bulls draftees have been doing lately)

Even with the "context" you're adding, nothing up to 2020 is unusual or rare at all among young high volume scorers. If you look at a lot of similar scorers once they get to their third or fourth healthy season, they basically did the same thing of XP gain + bigger on ball role + more shots = largely steady efficiency with mild year-to-year variance. Take out the ACL tear and Zach's progression is pretty bang on stock 4-5 year gains for a young scorer and not particularly remarkable. His steady efficiency after the role and volume changes on both teams would suggest that's about what he'd top out around after his first real very mild gains season, which was 2020.

But 2021? That is rarer than a plate of tartare.


I think I generally agree with what you are saying, but I'd say each one of those three improvements is increasingly rare. The first to become an efficient role player isn't anything crazy, but obviously many players don't make that leap, the next to become a primary option on decent efficiency is one that very few players make. To say it isn't unusual among high volume scorers is true, but high volume scorers are fairly rare in general.

The next one is obviously the most rare, to get to elite efficiency on high volume scoring and is generally the realm of superstars. Zach definitely seems a tier below that now, and he'll need to repeat it to prove he belongs in the superstar conversation, but what I meant is that as an arc, he has been steadily improving his whole career. Ignoring his ACL injury only the first two Boylen seasons with the Bulls showed him as basically the same player in consecutive years. The rest of his career has shown improvement year to year.

Granted, it's not tons of samples, but Zach, from what I can tell reading up on it, is well renowned and respected for his elite work ethic. He seems like a guy who should max out what he has based on that. From a physical standpoint, he has some pretty elite athletic tools, so what he's doing is well within his physical limits too. I'm not saying Zach's going to amp it up another notch from here, but I said two full seasons ago that Zach has a chance to be a Harden like offensive player. A guy that simply is an uber elite 1 on 1 scorer, and while he may never et to Harden's level, he's certainly come much closer than people would have expected before.

Harden looks like he adds lots of wins though, he's also still both higher volume AND more efficient, so Zach still has a ways to go, and I wouldn't say something like "never bet against LaVine" like I might with LeBron or Jordan, but he's been a guy who looks like he puts in the work and his consistently improved. I feel pretty good about this year not being a fluke (though certainly it could be a high point) and wouldn't rule out further improvement either.
http://linktr.ee/bullsbeat - links to the bullsbeat podcast
@doug_thonus on twitter
CobyWhite0
Pro Prospect
Posts: 874
And1: 538
Joined: Dec 28, 2020
 

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#29 » by CobyWhite0 » Wed Jun 2, 2021 8:39 pm

At least one player a year makes a big leap like Zach made this year - I'm sure you'd find a lot of them by looking at the players who win the "Most Improved Player" award. Like Randle this year, who made a huge leap. And many of them are 25 or older. And many of them continue to produce at that rate in future seasons.

It's not common, but it certainly isn't rare.
User avatar
Michael Jackson
RealGM
Posts: 16,905
And1: 3,001
Joined: Jun 15, 2001

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#30 » by Michael Jackson » Wed Jun 2, 2021 8:39 pm

His rating is 100% completely TBD for me. Until you can see how he competes with a team that is competitive and in the playoffs it is hard to judge. We know what Murray and Booker can do, but Lavine is still a question. Might be magical might be terrible. It's all speculation though until we see it.
User avatar
PlayerUp
Veteran
Posts: 2,735
And1: 1,241
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Contact:

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#31 » by PlayerUp » Wed Jun 2, 2021 9:26 pm

With Lavine = Competing to make playoffs
Without Lavine = Worst Team in the NBA

He has significantly improved overall the past 2 seasons and his ACL injury really set him back. Ironic that we wanted Wiggins but got Lavine and Lavine has turned out to be the far better player.

Overall he ranks somewhere around #18 to #30 among other NBA players.
cool007
RealGM
Posts: 16,619
And1: 2,136
Joined: Feb 03, 2005

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#32 » by cool007 » Wed Jun 2, 2021 10:08 pm

When we blame Zach for not getting wins or be a "winner", put this into perspective on who he played with and who were his coaches as a Chicago Bull?

He played with different coach about every year he has been with the Bulls and some coaches were just plain arguably the worst in the NBA (Fred Hoiberg, Jimbo the Clown).

Players that he played - a lot of them with g-league type players in rotation like Blakeney, Felicio, Dunn, Portis, Valentine, Zipser, Jerian Grant, Cam Payne - then Dunn, Jabari, Parker, Hutchinson, Holiday, OPJ, Harrison, Carter, Markkanen etc - and a lot of key players injured (Markkanen, Carter, OPJ, etc).

Now you look at those coaches and players and tell me how can he lead those players to be a "Winner" and get that team to the playoffs???

This is the finally a year where he now has good players but that happened at the later part of the season and with Covid and a brutal end of the year schedule and we missed it.

Next year is the year with Billy as a coach and Vooch and company with full training camp and you will see how good Lavine actually is and now that he has become an all-star, he can be a voice that players will listen to and become a leader which already has started happening with him inviting 2 key young guys to workout together.

I have zero doubt that if we are healthy next year, Lavine WILL lead this team to the playoffs - now that we finally have somewhat talent on the team.
User avatar
JohnnyTapwater
Veteran
Posts: 2,890
And1: 1,333
Joined: Nov 06, 2009
Location: Chicago
   

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#33 » by JohnnyTapwater » Thu Jun 3, 2021 12:51 pm

Zach can win us 1 playoff game. If he keeps learning to prioritize getting the easy bucket, you can bump that to 2.

And a superstar is born.
khufure
Analyst
Posts: 3,572
And1: 1,177
Joined: Jul 08, 2010
Location: California
     

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#34 » by khufure » Thu Jun 3, 2021 2:44 pm

TheSuzerain wrote:Lavine has shown no ability to get better at aspects of the game other than scoring.

Lavine's best trait is his scoring, but he's shown a remarkable work ethic and he cares about winning and teamwork. You know he's gonna work his ass off every off-season and be mentally strong.

His defense has also improved a lot. If you watch the games you can tell the difference. Combined with his offensive efficiency surge and he's a superlative player with upside at a premium position (guard).
User avatar
TheSuzerain
RealGM
Posts: 14,572
And1: 9,375
Joined: Mar 29, 2012

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#35 » by TheSuzerain » Thu Jun 3, 2021 3:43 pm

khufure wrote:
TheSuzerain wrote:Lavine has shown no ability to get better at aspects of the game other than scoring.

Lavine's best trait is his scoring, but he's shown a remarkable work ethic and he cares about winning and teamwork. You know he's gonna work his ass off every off-season and be mentally strong.

His defense has also improved a lot. If you watch the games you can tell the difference. Combined with his offensive efficiency surge and he's a superlative player with upside at a premium position (guard).

Lavine has a remarkable work ethic in terms of his ability to improve his own shot-making. His ability to hit shots has been drilled into him.

That's not how it works for defensive awareness or playmaking vision/creativity. Those are more or less inherent abilities that Lavine lacks.
Neonblazer
Sophomore
Posts: 108
And1: 47
Joined: Apr 04, 2021

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#36 » by Neonblazer » Thu Jun 3, 2021 4:05 pm

TheSuzerain wrote:he cares about winning and teamwork.

Like the ATL game? he just had to get those 50 points.
meekrab
Head Coach
Posts: 6,356
And1: 3,859
Joined: Dec 15, 2014

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#37 » by meekrab » Thu Jun 3, 2021 5:27 pm

He's good enough that the question is no longer "how good is Zach LaVine?" but "how good are the rest of the Bulls?"
Stratmaster
RealGM
Posts: 16,704
And1: 6,320
Joined: Oct 02, 2010
       

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#38 » by Stratmaster » Thu Jun 3, 2021 5:33 pm

Great to see that for the most part this thread has reasonable takes, at least at the start.

I am not even going to get into the discussion of his on court skills. If you can't see it by now you never will give him credit for his playing.

I just want to mention that he is also non-controversial. No whining about the horrible talent he has played next to. Even after the fact the closest I have heard to indicting any teammates was him saying how great it is to have another real scorer now that Vuc is here. I guess that could be construed as a back-handed slight to others.

Not a hint of any off court issues. Not a word publicly about playing for a coach who was a clown. Not a word about 3 different coaches in 3 seasons. Never any excuses.

When the press fishes for a flaming response the worst they ever get is when he misses a late shot and they ask him about it. He brushes it aside with "I have made a lot of game winners too, and I expect I will be taking a lot more of them".

Never a hint of being unhappy in Chicago or wanting out.

Despite all of the focus, attention, and pressure being solely on him since joining the Bulls... while some of us were screaming for players like Zipser to get more minutes because of how good he was lol.

That's it. And that is rare for a scorer of his magnitude.

I really don't get what it is a few people want from this kid. I don't think they realize what the Bulls have in Lavine.


Sent from my SM-G965U using RealGM mobile app
Stratmaster
RealGM
Posts: 16,704
And1: 6,320
Joined: Oct 02, 2010
       

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#39 » by Stratmaster » Thu Jun 3, 2021 5:35 pm

meekrab wrote:He's good enough that the question is no longer "how good is Zach LaVine?" but "how good are the rest of the Bulls?"
Exactly

Sent from my SM-G965U using RealGM mobile app
gardenofsound
Sixth Man
Posts: 1,964
And1: 1,163
Joined: Aug 25, 2010
   

Re: How good is Zach Lavine? 

Post#40 » by gardenofsound » Thu Jun 3, 2021 5:43 pm

These players, IMO are better than Lavine right now on a night to night basis (when healthy, and in no particular order):

Lebron James
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Luka Doncic
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
James Harden
Chris Paul
Kawhi Leonard
Jayson Tatum
Paul George
Kyrie Irving
Zion Williamson
Damian Lillard
Joel Embiid
Anthony Davis
Nikola Jokic
Rudy Gobert
Russell Westbrook

I'd say he's arguably top 19-30. In his tier would be the following players:
Ben Simmons
Devin Booker
KAT
Bam Adebayo
Julius Randle
Demar Derozan
Daniel Gafford
Jimmy Butler (yeah... I think Lavine is around Butler's level now)
Ja Morant
Trae Young
Tobias Harris
Klay Thompson (assuming a relative return to form)
Donovan Mitchell
Bradley Beal

Return to Chicago Bulls