With Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo gone, the empty vessel that is the 2017–18 Bulls roster provides the perfect environment for one new player to flourish: former Minnesota Timberwolf Zach LaVine. Sure, ESPN projects his team will finish dead last in its conference. Which leaves fans little to root for but chaos and aesthetic glory—but that’s exactly what LaVine, a player who is capable of everything (except defense … yet), provides.
At 22, he is already an all-time great dunker and can score from anywhere on the court while oscillating between point and shooting guard. With a blank slate of teammates, LaVine will be able to flex his athleticism, playmaking, and 3-point range (he has shot a respectable 39 percent from beyond the arch over the past two seasons). Even coming off an ACL injury, he claims that his sprint times are faster and his standing vertical higher than during his 2014 predraft workouts. Beyond the highlight reel plays, LaVine’s raw talent offers a nice monument to build around amid the rubble of the Bulls’ off-season demolition.
LaVine is expected to return from his injury sometime in November, but until then we can enjoy his breathtaking highlights from the 2015 and 2016 NBA slam dunk contests and dream about what might be.