Arriving in the NBA in 2014, Zach LaVine had to take his troubles patiently. It must be said that in Minneapolis or Chicago, he was never able to have a workforce really capable of aiming for the Top 8 in the West or the East.
But, soon to be 27 years old (he will be on March 10), the All-Star rear has finally finished with the collective disappointments. Because, for the first time in seven and a half years of career, it has reached the bar of 32 victories in a single season! He who had never done better than 31 successes, in 2016/17 and in 2020/21.
A new chapter begins, alongside DeMar DeRozan
” I have never had so much fun in my career “, delivers the former of UCLA, for Slam. ” The last two years have been tough for me, trying to keep improving as an individual, while doing everything I can to help my team win. But I feel like, in the media, if you’re a shining player in a losing team, then you’re going to be criticized for that. It never made sense to me, but that’s the way it is. And it was hard to take, because all that matters to me is winning.“
Leaders in the East as All-Star Weekend approaches, the Bulls confirm that they are no longer a surprise and they should, barring an improbable disaster, be in the Top 8 of their conference after five years of absence. Which means that Zach LaVine will discover the playoffs for the very first time, next April.
Finally abandoning this inelegant costume of active player totaling the most regular season games (454) without ever having taken part in the playoffs. A sad status that the double winner of the dunk contest (2015, 2016) has ahead of Buddy Hield (439), Brandon Ingram (350) and De’Aaron Fox (306).
But, like a Devin Booker, also collectively unhappy for a long time and now fulfilled in this respect with the Suns, Zach LaVine now hopes to be able to start a new chapter in his career. A chapter where collective success will be at the rendezvous, with Chicago.
” I want to be a winning player “, assures the recent Olympic gold medalist. ” Having such a team this year, playing so well and having so much fun, is something I want to see continue. We have a team of dogs, training is hard, we play hard in matches. And it’s something that I was really waiting for, because it had never been the case for me in the past.“
The title as a driving force
In Illinois today, Zach LaVine’s success depends on DeMar DeRozan and DeMar DeRozan’s success depends on Zach LaVine. The constitution of this duo had however been criticized last summer, since many of them doubted the success of their association.
Which has obviously served as a driving force for both players, so far.
” I use a lot of things to motivate me “, confides, in this regard, the 13th choice of the Draft 2014. “ I’m not the most talked about media because there are some things you don’t need to talk about and because you just have to let your game do the talking for you. However, there were things said when DeMar [DeRozan] arrived. I know who I am as a player, but I’ve heard some disturbing criticism about my game and the way I play: ‘Zach is a player who makes stats in a vacuum, he doesn’t win’. So I think that, this year, we are keen to silence a lot of people. “
In this Eastern conference which is open but which does not lack contenders for Finals, the Bulls have a card to play, even if they will not necessarily leave favorites against more experienced teams like the Bucks, the Nets, the Heat or the Sixers. However, with players like Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso or even Ayo Dosunmu to surround him, without forgetting DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine (24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 average assists) wants to think big, starting this year , with Chicago.
” If you don’t have the title as your goal, then you’re underestimating yourself. “, Estimates the one who should obtain his second participation in the All-Star Game, this week. ” When I enter the floor, I tell myself that I am the best player. That’s the mindset you have to have, because you work for it. This is not arrogance, but confidence. So if you don’t think you can win every game you play, or if you don’t think you have a chance of winning the title, then there’s no point in playing. Our objective is the title and we are trying to build champion habits accordingly.“