Zach LaVine was a premier shooting guard in the NBA. LaVine is an elite scorer, having averaged 25.5 PPG during the 2019-20 season, and his jaw-dropping athleticism has already won him a Dunk Contest. LaVine will look to lead the Chicago Bulls to the playoffs this season and may lead the team in scoring once again.
Despite his elite performances on the Bulls, Zach LaVine has received slander from media personalities before. One of the recent instances was Kendrick Perkins saying that LaVine couldn’t be the first option on a team. It is a rash statement, considering that LaVine was on a team with one of the worst head coaches in the league. On a recent podcast, Gilbert Arenas had good words about the Bulls’ star but stated that something would need to happen for LaVine to reach another level. The segment starts at 0:42.
Gilbert Arenas clearly states that LaVine is a superstar, but perhaps needs some motivation to hit that next level, similar to other greats. He gives a definition of what the ‘pain’ would be:
Pain is this: you averaged 29 last year. You get snubbed from the All-Star game. You averaged 30 at the end of the year. You don’t make an All-NBA team. You’re third in scoring in the league: you don’t make an All-NBA team. That’s pain. You got screwed. That’s pain. That pain turns into a demon.
It seems as though Gilbert Arenas is suggesting that what LaVine needs is a chip on his shoulder, and that snubs would motivate him. It would put LaVine in a similar to other guards of the past like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant: both of those players suffered setbacks before winning it all on the biggest stage.
While Zach LaVine may not become an all-time great, he could still become an effective first option and multiple-time All-Star. LaVine is in a perfect situation to be the top scorer on the Bulls, and he has the ability to do it. Let’s see if Gilbert Arenas is right, and LaVine breaks out sooner rather than later as a full-fledged superstar due to him wanting his respect.