The numbers and beyond: Inside Zach LaVine’s season

Zach LaVine has had a very underrated season so far in 2019-20 putting up some career-highs in a few different stats. With that, the argument can be made that he should be selected to the All-Star game which will take place in Chicago on Feb. 16th. LaVine is averaging 25 points a game, while contributing nearly four assists a game and perhaps the somewhat surprising one is that Lavine is shooting just 40% from the three-point line.

If LaVine’s numbers to the team’s offensive stats were even slightly better, he could be in a better position to landing a spot on the All-Star team. The Bulls are the No. 25 scoring team in the NBA at just under 106 points a game, or in other words, the team is in the bottom 5. LaVine is shooting nearly 5 percentage points better from downtown than his team is. When it comes to the all valuable assist number, the Bulls are in the bottom 10 in that. Assists can be overlooked because it opens the door to a more balanced scoring lineup and the Bulls have struggled in that.

The case can be made that Lavine should be on the All-Star team and comparing his numbers to other players, his numbers are very solid. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks will be starting for the eastern conference in the All-Star game. The Atlanta Hawks have the worst record in the NBA but his numbers can not be ignored. Young is just 21 and taking the league by storm. Young is averaging just under 30 points a game, adding 8.6 assists a game. Not many players on bad teams make the starting lineup in the All-Star game but Young is more than deserving of that. His nickname Ice Trae and he has improved in most of the basic stats from his rookie season.

With eight games left until the All-Star Break, LaVine will have his chance to make one final push. Looking at the NBA odds you can clearly see that the Bulls won’t be favored in many games, but one of the lone ones will be Saturday vs. Cleveland. From there they take on San Antonio, Indiana, Toronto, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, New Orleans and Washington.

Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards is having a career season in scoring despite missing part of the season with a leg injury last month. Beal is averaging nearly 28 points a game, while recording nearly 6.5 assists a game. His turnovers are up as many who see an increase in scoring year to year, but his turnover numbers are better than Young’s. The Wizards are on the outside looking in with the playoff picture but he has done his best to keep the Wizards in the conversation even if it is slim. Beal is putting up these numbers without playing alongside John Wall. Both are deserving of at least consideration to the All-Star game and it honestly is a tossup between which one will get the edge. LaVine has the advantage in some of the advanced stats over Beal and the reverse is true.

The competition for all available spots to play in the All-Star game is always stiff and this year is no exception. Furthermore, there are All-Star snubs every year and LaVine could be that snub. If he were snubbed, it would hit home more considering the game is at the United Center and there is extra motivation to show what you have not just in front of your own fans but fans from other cities.

I contend that part of the reason why LaVine isn’t a slam dunk for the All-Star game is that he plays on a bad team.

Yes, Trae Young plays on the worst team in the eastern conference but Young is one of those exceptions, what he has done is impossible to ignore. I also argue that if LaVine had a better supporting cast, his name would be more known throughout the NBA as Young is. Plus, his scoring numbers could be closer to 30 with a better supporting cast. Despite playing on a bad team, it would be a shame if LaVine didn’t even make it as a reserve, you can make the case he should be starting and that case is not weak, but that speaks to how stiff the competition for this honor is.

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