Where my dogs at?
(We right here, dog) Where my dogs at?
(I am right here dog)
What must I go through to show you (bleep) is real?
What’s good Razzballers? Welcome to this week’s installment of Underperformer of the Week. The legendary DMX said it best and I am echoing his sentiment when I say to you it is really real out there in your basketball landscape at this point of the season. Depending on your format, there is everything from joy to tears as some GMs are basking in the glory of entering the playoffs. While others have become spectators, watching from the sidelines. Depending on your league settings, there is still a chance your trade deadline has not passed and thus, an opportunity for a move or two still exists. We are in the dog days of the season where it becomes a true grind and the pickings are slim. However, I am here to serve as your curator of sorts and bring the goods directly to your doorstep.
Let us get right to it so,
Stop, drop, shut em down, open up shop.
Ah yes, Sir Zachary LaVine I presume? Sounds so regal when you add the sir to his name.
Unfortunately, for his current owners, his performance over the past week has been far from earning a knighthood. In fact, I would say he has been closer to the court jester and that is the reason he has landed in this week’s column.
It has been a crescendo season for the Zack attack, as he has reached career highs across the board culminating in his first trip to All-Star weekend without being a dunk contest participant. On the season, LaVine is shooting a blistering 50.7% from the field, which in itself is remarkable considering how many shots he takes per game (19.1) while still drilling 3.4 from three. Zach has become an elite-level shooting guard in the league and I am sure Minnesota is kicking themselves right now for trading him away to the Bulls prematurely. With averages of 27/5/5 to go along with 85% from the line on 5.2 attempts, there truly is not anything not to love about his game.
Yet, here we are. Finding ourselves in a position where possibly you can sway his owner to do what the Timberwolves did and sell. Over the past week, he has been shooting 42% from the field, 66.7% from the line with a line of 22 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.3 from three, and zero steals. This has translated into a rank of 167 overall and a clear nose-dive from his season-long rank of 17 on Yahoo.
Part of the struggle has been becoming acclimated to new teammate Nikola Vucevic, whom the Bulls acquired at the trade deadline. Zach has been the unquestioned alpha on a struggling Bulls team but now finds himself with a legitimate all-star big man in Vucevic. Zach is an unselfish player, who has tried to incorporate Vuc into the offense as seamlessly as possible. While Vucevic continues to get his numbers, Zach has had to figure it out and figure it out he will.
Elite shooting guards are not a dime a dozen so please do not hesitate to offer up a top 40 player and see if his owner bites. This opportunity will not come around again and as we hit the home stretch, it is time to swing for the fences, heave it full court, and throw a long bomb. Choose your own sports analogy but you get the picture, make your move.
Get at me dog.