Bulls

Why Tim Anderson believes LaVine is 'superstar caliber'

Bulls

Add White Sox second baseman Tim Anderson to the legions pushing for Zach LaVine to earn his first career All-Star selection this season.

"I think he (LaVine) deserves more credit than he's getting," Anderson told Chuck Garfien on the latest White Sox Talk Podcast. "He's definitely All-Star caliber, superstar caliber. But it's just something about Chicago athletes, they sleep on 'em... He's definitely one of the top guards in the league right now for sure."

Hard to argue with any of those points, especially given LaVine's torrid start to his seventh season. Fresh off a season-high 46 points in a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in which he and starting backcourt mate Coby White made NBA 3-point history, LaVine boasts career-best averages of 28.2 points (fifth in the NBA), 5.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds through 24 games.

And the efficiency is even more ludicrous: LaVine is one of four players (along with CJ McCollum, Steph Curry and Donovan Mitchell) making over 40 percent of his 3s on more than eight attempts per game. LaVine, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant and Curry are the only four players in the league currently clearing the 28 points per game and 65 percent true shooting benchmarks.

 

"He's raw. He's cold," Anderson said. "His jumpshot is just pure. If you think of a jumpshot, that's how a jumpshot should look. It's effortless.

"Everything he does, it looks effortless. He's probably going balls to the wall, but it's effortless. Even dunking, like everything's effortless. Dribbling, stepbacks, crossovers, fadeaways, everything is just effortless and normal."

Most impressive to Anderson, a batting champion and MVP candidate on a meteoric rise in his own right? The work he knows LaVine is putting in behind the scenes. If the Bulls star's current averages -- or close to them -- hold, LaVine will have bumped his scoring average in each season since rehabbing a torn ACL suffered at age 21. Self-professed improvements as a defender and playmaker are bearing out on the court. Still just 25, he's only getting better.

The Bulls are right now off to their best start -- 10-14 -- through 24 games of LaVine's tenure in Chicago. The team's losing ways since his acquisition as part of the Jimmy Butler trade on draft night 2017 have left swaths of Bulls fans skeptical in years past, but LaVine's current tear has many coming around.

"Year after year if you continue to get better, some people are gonna grow on you," Anderson said. "But obviously he's been working... And it's showing. So that's where people are coming around on him, he's growing on people. But in reality, he's been in that.

"So now he has to do this for people to start liking him, when he was gonna do that anyways, you just have to give it time."

RELATED: Bulls star Zach LaVine: Tim Anderson is 'bringing swag back to baseball'

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