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Zach LaVine

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Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine vs USC (cropped).jpg
LaVine with UCLA in 2014
No. 8 – Chicago Bulls
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Personal information
Born (1995-03-10) March 10, 1995 (age 26)
Renton, Washington
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High schoolBothell
(Bothell, Washington)
CollegeUCLA (2013–2014)
NBA draft2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall
Selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves
Playing career2014–present
Career history
20142017Minnesota Timberwolves
2017–presentChicago Bulls
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

Zachary Thomas LaVine (born March 10, 1995)[1] is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft with the 13th overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. A two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion, he was named an NBA All-Star in 2021.

LaVine grew up in Washington, where he was honored as the state's top high school player. He played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins. After one season at UCLA, he entered the NBA after being named one of the top freshmen in the Pac-12 Conference. As a rookie with Minnesota, LaVine won the league's Slam Dunk Contest, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. In 2016, he became the fourth NBA player to ever win consecutive dunk contests. He was traded to Chicago in 2017.

Early life

LaVine was born in Renton, Washington, to athletic parents. His father, Paul, played American football professionally in the United States Football League (USFL) and National Football League (NFL), and his mother, CJ, was a softball player.[2][3] Around the age of five, LaVine developed an interest in basketball after watching Michael Jordan in Space Jam.[4] He later became a fan of Kobe Bryant, and modeled his game after his childhood idol.[5]

LaVine practiced playing in the family backyard, where his father had him repeatedly emulate the NBA's Three-Point Shootout.[4] He attended Bothell High School in Bothell, Washington.[2] Playing point guard, he was their primary ball handler. By his junior year, he had grown to 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), and he would practice dunking for hours in his backyard after his shooting routine would end.[4]

As a senior, he averaged 28.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game, and was named the 2013 Associated Press Washington state player of the year and Washington Mr. Basketball.[2] He was also recognized nationally as a first-team Parade All-American.[6] He played in the Ballislife All-American Game, and won the event's slam dunk contest.[7] Considered a four-star recruit by, LaVine was listed as the No. 12 shooting guard and the No. 44 player in the nation in 2013.[8]

College career

On June 20, 2012, LaVine verbally committed to attending the University of California, Los Angeles, and playing for coach Ben Howland for the 2013 season.[9] After Howland was fired nine months later, LaVine considered staying in-state and attending the University of Washington instead. However, he decided to remain with UCLA and their new coach, Steve Alford; LaVine had inherited an affection for UCLA from his father, who grew up a fan of Bruins basketball while growing up in nearby San Bernardino, California.[10]

LaVine shooting against Stanford in 2014

After a strong start to 2013–14 as the team's sixth man, featuring an impressive display of outside shooting and explosive dunks, the former point guard LaVine evoked memories of former Bruin Russell Westbrook's UCLA beginnings.[4] NBA draft pundits began ranking LaVine high on their projections for the 2014 NBA draft if he declared himself eligible.[4][11] draft expert Chad Ford attributed LaVine's appeal to the Westbrook comparisons. At one point, Ford listed him as the 10th overall pick, while ranked him fifth.[4] During the season, LaVine typically entered the game with coach Alford's freshman son, Bryce Alford, who usually handled the ball, while starter Kyle Anderson was the team's main facilitator.[4][12] During a six-game span beginning on January 26, 2014, LaVine endured a shooting slump where he made just 7 of 36 shots from the field.[10] He averaged 9.4 points per game during the season, fourth best on the team, and his 48 three-point field goals made were the second most by a freshman in the school's history.[13] However, LaVine did not reach double-figures in scoring in 14 of the final 18 games,[14] and totaled just 11 points and was 0 for 8 on three-point attempts in the final five games.[15] Despite his late-season struggles, he was voted to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team,[16][17] and he was named with Bryce Alford as the team's most valuable freshmen.[13]

On April 16, 2014, he declared for the NBA draft, forgoing his final three years of college eligibility.[18]

Professional career

Minnesota Timberwolves (2014–2017)

2014–15 season

On June 26, 2014, LaVine was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. The Timberwolves drafted him more for his long-term potential than for immediate returns.[19] He signed his rookie scale contract with the team on July 8, 2014.[20] During the offseason, he won the slam dunk contest at the Seattle Basketball Pro-Am League while using many of the same moves he used to capture the Ballislife contest.[21][22] Over the first five games of the 2014–15 season, LaVine played a total of 12 minutes. When an ankle injury sidelined starter Ricky Rubio indefinitely, LaVine became the starting point guard over veteran Mo Williams.[23][24] After being switched back to the bench by coach Flip Saunders in favor of Williams, LaVine scored 28 points in a 120–119 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on November 28. He became only the second teenager ever in the NBA to have at least 25 points and five assists as a reserve.[a] LaVine moved back into the starting lineup after back spasms sidelined Williams.[26] On December 6 against the San Antonio Spurs, LaVine had 22 points and 10 assists for his first double-double.[27] He became just the fourth teenage player to record a 20-point, 10-assist game in the NBA.[b]

Rubio returned in February 2015, resulting in a dip in playing time for LaVine. However, Williams was also traded that month to open up more opportunities.[29][30] Again incorporating moves from the Ballislife contest two years earlier, LaVine won the Slam Dunk Contest during the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend.[7] He became the youngest champion since an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant in 1997.[31] LaVine became a crowd favorite after his first dunk, which he performed while wearing Jordan's No. 23 jersey from the movie Space Jam.[32] With a perfect 50 on each of his first two dunks, he was the first player since Dwight Howard in 2009 with a perfect score on multiple dunks.[33] Yahoo! Sports hailed him as "the most electrifying performer of All-Star Saturday Night... and, if we're being honest, in quite a number of years."[31] LaVine also participated in the Rising Stars Challenge that weekend.[34] On April 11, LaVine had a season-best game with 37 points and nine rebounds in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.[35][36] For the season, LaVine played in 77 games, starting in 40, and averaged 10.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, while shooting 42.2 percent overall and 34.1 percent on three-pointers. He was subsequently named to the All-NBA Rookie Second Team.[37]

2015–16 season

LaVine (middle) defending against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016

On October 21, 2015, the Timberwolves exercised their third-year team option on LaVine's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2016–17 season.[38] With Ricky Rubio sidelined in early November, LaVine took over the starting point guard role and took advantage of the increased minutes. On November 13, he scored a season-high 26 points in a loss to the Indiana Pacers.[39] He later topped that mark on December 13, scoring 28 points in a loss to the Phoenix Suns.[40] In a 114–107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 25, 2016, LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins became the first trio of NBA teammates under age 21 to score at least 20 points in the same game.[41][42] On January 27, he scored 35 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder, just two points shy of his career high. His 35 points set a franchise record for a bench player and set the highest scoring total by a non-starter in the league in 2015–16.[43] He tied Minnesota single-game records with a shooting percentage of 82.4 (14 for 17) and most two-point field goals without a miss (9 for 9).[44] During the 2016 All-Star Weekend, LaVine scored 30 points for Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge to capture MVP honors.[45] He also became the fourth player ever to win consecutive Slam Dunk Contests.[c] His battle with Aaron Gordon through two tie-breakers in the final round drew comparisons to the showdown between Jordan and Dominique Wilkins in 1988.[46]

2016–17 season

On October 24, 2016, the Timberwolves exercised their fourth-year team option on LaVine's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2017–18 season.[47] On November 9, he tied his career high with 37 points in a 123–107 win over the Orlando Magic.[48] On December 23, he scored a career-high 40 points and tied a career best with seven three-pointers in a 109–105 loss against the Sacramento Kings. He had 19 points in the second quarter, marking his second-highest quarter of his career; he previously had 20 in the fourth against Golden State on April 11, 2015.[49] On February 4, 2017, LaVine was ruled out for the rest of the season after an MRI revealed he had a torn ACL in his left knee.[50][51] Ten days later, he underwent successful surgery to reconstruct the knee.[52] On June 22, 2017, LaVine was traded, along with Kris Dunn and the rights to Lauri Markkanen (the 7th pick in the 2017 NBA draft), to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Jimmy Butler and the rights to Justin Patton (the 16th pick in the 2017 NBA draft).[53]

Chicago Bulls (2017–present)

2018–19 season

On January 13, 2018, in his first game in 11 months, LaVine scored 14 points in the Bulls' 107–105 win over the Detroit Pistons.[54] On February 9, he scored a season-high 35 points in a 114–113 win over his former team the Minnesota Timberwolves.[55]

On July 6, 2018, the restricted free agent LaVine received a four-year, $80 million offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings.[56] Two days later, the Bulls exercised their right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to LaVine by the Kings.[57] LaVine scored at least 30 points in each of the Bulls' first three games of the season, becoming the third Chicago player to do so, joining Michael Jordan (1986) and Bob Love (1971).[58] On October 24, he made two free throws with 0.5 seconds left to lift the Bulls to a 112–110 win over the Charlotte Hornets. He finished with 32 points for his fourth straight 30-point game to start the season.[59] On November 5, he scored a career-high 41 points, including the game-winning free throw with 0.2 seconds left, as the Bulls beat the New York Knicks 116–115 in double overtime.[60] On November 10, he scored 24 points in a 99–98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, thus scoring 20 or more points in each of Chicago's 13 games to begin the season and in a career-high 14 straight overall, dating to his final game of 2017–18. The last Bulls player to score 20-plus points in 14 consecutive games was Jimmy Butler, who did it 15 straight times in 2016.[61] He scored 26 points against the Dallas Mavericks on November 12 for 15 straight, before a 10-point game on November 14 against the Boston Celtics ended the streak.[62] On December 26, after missing five games with a sprained left ankle, LaVine had 28 points in 26 minutes off the bench in a 119–94 loss to the Timberwolves.[63]

On February 23, 2019, he scored a career-high 42 points in a 126–116 win over the Celtics.[64] On March 1, he scored 47 points in a 168–161 quadruple-overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks, the third highest scoring game in NBA history.[65] On March 6, he scored 39 points and hit the go-ahead layup in the closing seconds to lift the Bulls to a 108–107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.[66] LaVine missed the end of the season with right leg injuries.[67] He led the Bulls in points scored in the season with 1492 points while playing in only 63 games.

2019–20 season

In the second game of the 2019-2020 season he scored 37 points in a 110-102 win against the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 16, 2019 Lavine scored 36 points in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. On November 23, LaVine scored a career high 49 points, with 13 three-point field goals, including the game-winning three pointer to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 116–115.[68] On November 27, he had 36 points against Golden State. On January 25, 2020, LaVine recorded 44 points, ten rebounds and eight assists in a 118–106 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.[69] On February 11, he scored 41 points on 15-of-21 shooting, including 8 three-pointers, to go with nine rebounds, in a 126–114 loss to the Washington Wizards.[70] On February 25, 2020 LaVine again scored 41 points in a 124–122 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.[71] He was the leading scorer in 42 of the 65 games played in the shortened season.

2020–21 season

On February 10, LaVine scored a season-high 46 points with nine 3-pointers in a 129-116 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.[72] With a new head coach in Billy Donovan and averaging career highs in scoring and shooting efficiency, on February 24, 2021, he was named a reserve for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. It was his first All-Star selection and the first Bulls player selected since Jimmy Butler in 2017.[73] In the 34th game of the season, LaVine had his 17th game scoring 30 points or more.[74] On March 7 he played 28.19 minutes and scored 13 points during the All-Star game.[75] For the season, he averaged a career-high 27.4 points per game, which ranked seventh in the NBA. He also reached career highs in rebounds (5.0), assists (4.9), 3-point shooting (41.9%), overall field goal percentage (50.7), and free throw percentage (84.9).[76]

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Lavine was selected as one of the players on Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. He started one game and was a valuable sixth man averaging 10.6 points. Prior to the Gold medal game, he was second in assists, playing a solid defense and was shooting a team-best 47% from three-point range.

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular season

2014–15 Minnesota 77 40 24.7 .422 .341 842 2.8 3.6 .7 .1 10.1
2015–16 Minnesota 82 33 28.0 .452 .389 .793 2.8 3.1 .8 .2 14.0
2016–17 Minnesota 47 47 37.2 .459 .387 .836 3.4 3.0 .9 .2 18.9
2017–18 Chicago 24 24 27.3 .383 .341 .813 3.9 3.0 1.0 .2 16.7
2018–19 Chicago 63 62 34.5 .467 .374 .832 4.7 4.5 1.0 .4 23.7
2019–20 Chicago 60 60 34.8 .450 .380 .802 4.8 4.2 1.5 .5 25.5
2020–21 Chicago 58 58 35.1 .507 .419 .849 5.0 4.9 .8 .5 27.4
Career 411 324 31.4 .458 .385 .824 3.8 3.8 .9 .3 19.1


2013–14 UCLA 37 1 24.4 .441 .375 .691 2.5 1.8 .9 .2 9.4

Off the court

In March 2016, LaVine guest starred in an episode of the hit Disney XD television series Kirby Buckets.[77]


  1. ^ The first was Kobe Bryant in 1997.[25]
  2. ^ He joined LeBron James, Dajuan Wagner, and Stephon Marbury.[28]
  3. ^ He joined Jordan, Jason Richardson, and Nate Robinson.[46]


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External links