RISING STAR OR ROOKIE STAR?
Lavine is face of franchise — unless bulls get lucky in lottery, land georgia’s edwards
Zach LaVine has done everything asked of him since joining the Bulls in 2017. The guard can score at an All-Star level, and he has improved his defense, his rebounding and his playmaking. All the while, he has become the face of the organization on and off the court.
But is that enough?
Has LaVine proved that he can be an elite player able to carry the Bulls back to the postseason, or is he just a bridge until the true heir apparent shows himself ?
More important, could that heir apparent be available in the 2020 NBA Draft?
The franchise has defied the draft-lottery odds before — see Derrick Rose — but not since 2008. It has been triple sevens for the Bulls the last three drafts. They’ve had the seventh overall pick each year since the start of the rebuild in 2017.
With a 7.5% chance to hit on No. 1 this time and a 7.8% chance to land No. 2, what if Georgia scoring guard Anthony Edwards is there for the taking?
Is he the next Bradley Beal with a streakier outside game, or is he Dennis Smith Jr., who showed promise early with the Mavericks but since has fizzled out with the Knicks?
The Bulls have time on their side with LaVine. They have one more season to decide if they want to extend the former first-round pick and two more seasons of control of his contract to see if his upward climb continues.
That doesn’t mean that Edwards should be out of the picture, though.
Three straight disappointing seasons, including being one of the “delete eight’’ left out of the 22team restart bubble, should serve notice to the new front office that the team isn’t good enough.
There should be no untouchables, including at the two-guard spot, where LaVine is the starter and 2019 first-round pick Coby White is the backup. The Bulls need to determine if White is a point guard or if he’s bettersuited for combo duty.
The rebuild still is incomplete. No stone
— or draft prospect — should go unturned. The top shooting guards:
1. Anthony Edwards, Georgia
Edwards is the best two guard in the draft, and he sits atop most draft boards. His offensive game is based on explosiveness and strength, but his outside game remains inconsistent.
Like most players in this draft class, there are flaws in his game, starting with his energy on defense. His athleticism and size should make him an elite defender, but his willingness to play both ends of the court has been called into question.
The good news is that he has the tools to embrace the defensive side of the floor.
In a draft with almost no sure things, Edwards could be the player who becomes a superstar.
2. Devin Vassell, Florida State
Much like ex-Bull Jimmy Butler was coming out of Marquette, Vassell is a tweener, able to play the off-guard because of his athleticism, but at 6-7 he also can be a wing.
He checks two key boxes for whichever team grabs him: He shot 42 percent from three-point range last season, and he was a willing defender.
3. Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky
In his one year at Kentucky, he never lived up to the hype he had coming out of high school, especially with his inconsistent offense.
What he did show, though, was an ability to defend and a toughness to become a solid NBA starter for years to come. ✶
Anthony Edwards Bulls guard Zach LaVine is under club control for two more seasons.