Zach LaVine believes he can become “an All-Star or All-NBA type of guy.”
He’s also keenly aware that those individual accolades are inextricably tied to how many wins he leads Chicago to.
LaVine says his “All-Star caliber year” last season—which produced career-high averages of 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists on 46.7 percent shooting—was “swept under the rug” due to the Bulls’ futility (22-60) as a team.
“Everything comes with winning. I feel like if we win and we’re in the right positions, the sky is the limit for me,” LaVine told ESPN following Thursday’s practice. “I had an All-Star-caliber year last year, but we had 22 wins so it got a little bit swept under the rug. But that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have 20 wins. But if I continue to play the way I’m supposed to, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be an All-Star or All-NBA type guy.”
With All-Star Weekend set to return to Chicago for the first time in three decades this February, the two-time slam dunk champion is certainly eyeing this year’s festivities. But not just the ones on Saturday night.
“I expect to be there through the whole weekend, and if my legs are right, obviously I would love to [compete in the dunk contest], but I’ve got to make sure what’s best for me and the team,” LaVine said. “I’ve been on that stage before, but I haven’t been on the Sunday night one, so I expect to be there and I expect us to move forward.”
Since the 2009-10 season, there have been 44 instances of a player making an All-Star team with his team finishing with a sub-.500 record, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
“I view myself as an elite guy. Whenever I’m on the court, obviously confidence-wise I think I’m the best player on the court,” said LaVine. “I draw the No. 1 scouting report every night, I draw the best defender, but whatever I’ve got to do to make the team better and continue to work on my craft, but like I said it’ll come with winning.
“I think I’m a little underrated, but who’s going to be looking at a 22-win team obviously, so I think the national media coverage is a little bit slacking on that.”