The Timberwolves traded fan favorite Zach LaVine to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler on Thursday.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Minnesota sports teams get overlooked in the scope of the national media. Anything in fly-over country gets overshadowed by horrible New York Knicks and New York Jets teams. It’s expected but still a little surprising especially when it comes to the value of players like Zach LaVine.
The underrating of Zach LaVine shouldn’t be a great surprise. To greatly over exaggerate, the national media ripped the University of Minnesota for firing Tubby Smith as men’s basketball head coach a few years ago. The national media only knew of the NCAA champion Smith and not the horrid Gopher coach Smith.
The national media is showing that they don’t know a whole lot about LaVine and his potential impact.
Grades came out quite quickly on the trade between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls and the majority all had the Wolves getting an ‘A’ and the Bulls getting an ‘F’. Any team getting Jimmy Butler would get an ‘A’, but LaVine himself doesn’t allow the Chicago end of the deal to be an ‘F’.
Like Butler, LaVine has improved his points per game average in every one of his NBA seasons. LaVine came into the league with a 10.1 points per game average as a rookie, 14.0 in his second year and 18.9 points per game this last season before he was sidelined with an ACL tear.
Like Butler, LaVine is a very hard worker and is always working on trying to improve, develop and expand his game. LaVine also has the desire and drive to be a star. He has the athleticism to achieve that goal.
I don’t believe it is an understatement to say that a solid portion of Timberwolves fans would have preferred that the team traded away Andrew Wiggins instead of LaVine. Wiggins’ stats might be better than LaVine’s, but it simply feels like LaVine might be ready to explode on to the star scene. It sure felt that way before his ACL tear last season.
More from Sporting Sota
- Minnesota Twins bullpen will be their downfall
- Top 5 Minnesota Twins Pitching Prospects
- Kyle Rudolph signing gives stability to Minnesota Vikings offense
- Jake Odorizzi’s emergence fueling Twins starting staff
- Former Minnesota Twins player David Ortiz shot
That ACL tear is the main reason for concern for LaVine and his future. The explosiveness that is an integral part of LaVine’s game might be hampered to some extent by the injury. Let’s hope that’s not the case for LaVine, a player that was highly regarded by Flip Saunders.
There’s no way for the Bulls to trade Jimmy Butler and for them to win the trade. That’s just the science of trading superstars in the NBA. The return on the superstar will never be equal to the superstar. LaVine, though, is a great piece to have.
LaVine may never be Butler, but not many players are on the same level as Butler. The 22-year-old has dominated NBA All-Star Saturday Night as a member of the Timberwolves, but there’s no reason he can’t be playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday night for the Bulls.
Sporting Sota is your home for all things Minnesota sports! Keep it here for all things Wolves, Lynx, Gophers, Vikings, Twins and Wild!