The new look Toronto Raptors are dangerous
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For a brief moment during this fee agency, the Sacramento Kings reminded us why they're in the situation they are now by offering restricted free agent Zach LaVine a 4 year $78 million contract. The Chicago Bulls though, not to be out done by Sacramento, matched the offer sheet and thus handed Zach the worst contract in the league right now.
Let me say, I like watching Zach LaVine play when he's hot and his jumper is falling, he's also a great dunker when he's on the break. With all that being said, there is zero evidence that shows he deserves the huge contract he just got.
Prior to his ACL tear in 2016/2017, LaVine was having another horrible defensive year in Minnesota. LaVine's defensive real plus minus numbers were so shockingly bad that he was statistically worse than NBA defensive “greats” like Carmelo Anthony, Nik Stauskas, Nick Young, and even James Harden. Zach Lavine was worse than James “no defense” Harden. Zach didn't play enough games in 2017-2018 to qualify for this stat, but it wouldn't have made a difference; LaVine has continually finished in the bottom 30 players in this stat for all his career.
If Zach LaVine was an elite scorer, you could argue that his defensive problems could be looked over. Yet, LaVine isn't an elite scorer nor is he an efficient one. For his career Zach is 43% from the field and an big old “eh” 37% from deep. His one year in Chicago, despite being short as he was rehabbing for most of it, wasn't encouraging either from an offensive stand point. Zach's 2017-2018 stat line of 16.7 points per game is good, but then you realize it's on a 49.9 true shooting percentage and a horrid 49.3% shooting from inside the arc.
Perhaps Chicago just didn't want to let LaVine go, as he was on the “big” returns from the Jimmy Butler trade or perhaps Chicago are as truly reckless as Sacramento is. Giving LaVine as near as make no difference $20 million a year knocks Chicago down to roughly $44 million in cap space next year, when there are some seriously big names hitting the market. If Chicago thinks keeping LaVine is the first step towards getting out of NBA purgatory, then this franchise is due a long and dark rebuild.