Zach LaVine: The Forgotten, Underrated Superstar
Somehow, Zach LaVine has become one of the best offensive weapons in the entire NBA, but he has become underrated through being overshadowed by rebuilds and now DeMar DeRozan during this journey. It’s time that people recognize LaVine’s game and give him the respect he so greatly deserves.
As Good As They Come
Among players who have played at least 250 total minutes this season, only two are shooting at least 48% from the field, 39% from 3-point range, and 86% from the free-throw line. One is shooting specialist Seth Curry. The other? Zach LaVine. Anybody who ever pulls the “empty stats” card on LaVine simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and there’s no better measure of a great scorer than looking at both scoring output and efficiency. LaVine is currently 14th in points per game this season with 24.9, ahead of both Bradley Beal and James Harden, two players with all-time great scoring seasons in recent years. There’s no limit to what Zach LaVine can do offensively, whether it be highlight reel dunks or lights-out shooting, making him one of the most complete scorers currently in the game.
The Ignored MVP Candidate?
Here’s a quick player comparison. I’m going to tell you about two players, and you consider who you think is having the better season. Player A is averaging 26.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists with 50.2/34.6/85.9 shooting splits. Player B is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists with 48.4/39.5/86.9 shooting splits. I’d say those two lines look almost identical, and there’s reasons each player could be desirable over the other. What I don’t understand is how Player A, DeMar DeRozan is receiving what seems to be 100% of the MVP discussion while Player B, Zach LaVine, continues to be seen as just a sidekick. In the most recent NBA.com MVP Ladder, DeMar DeRozan slots in at 7th place, while Zach LaVine’s name is nowhere to be found, not even in the honorable mentions section of the post. Overlooking LaVine is nothing new, as we’re talking about the guy that started just one game at UCLA before declaring for the NBA Draft.
Zach LaVine is one of the most fun players in the NBA today, whether it be his legendary Slam Dunk Contest victory against Aaron Gordon in 2016 or his ridiculous scoring ability leading to 13 3-point nights, game-winners, and the Bulls back in the driver’s seat as the one seed in the East. Zach LaVine has been underrated for years, and it’s time he starts getting the respect he very much deserves.