Instead, LaVine is scoring in ways that are likely far more sustainable. He is attacking the rim persistently, and now that he has fully recovered from his ACL tear, he is finishing those shots as well. The results of his injury were clear in last year’s numbers: He only converted 50% of his shots at the rim, well off of his career 60+% rates. This year he has made 66% of his shots at the basket, and more importantly has taken a whopping 48% of his shots there. For comparison, Ben Simmons, who doesn’t take threes, took 54% of his shots at the rim last season. For a guard who can also shoot, 48% is a very high number. That also has paid dividends by getting LaVine to the foul line, where he’s a career 82% shooter. LaVine is attacking.
His shot selection is still pretty shit outside the paint, but it’s nice to see the numbers at the basket bear out on the positive side. There’s no doubt he’s incredibly explosive at the basket, but he’s also proven to be much more crafty and not necessarily having to rely on his explosiveness every time.
LaVine’s passing relative to how much he has the ball still leaves something to be desired. His turnovers have been very high so far as well, much higher than in the past. That may be part of the cost of having the ball so much and attacking the rim like this. It’s too early to judge much about his defense statistically, though early returns are in line with what he has done in the past: Opponents have shot much better at the rim when he’s on the court compared to off, as they have for every year of his career.
To go along with his crappy shot selection, is his crappy decision making with the ball. If he can cut back on the turnovers, he might just win me over and I might just allow him to stick around in Chicago.
When presented with evidence we tend to think only about what’s in front of us and construct a story from that information only. We are blind to what we might be missing, and blind to our blindness.