Zach LaVine says it’s ‘crazy’ Bulls want him to stop shooting mid-range jumpers
In an interview with Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, LaVine noted how the greats the came before him had mastery of the perimeter.
LaVine pointed out the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony — who all had an efficient mid-range shot in their offensive arsenal. He also noted how Kawhi Leonard utilized his mid-range shot to oust the powerhouse Golden State Warriors squad to win the title.
“I know … ain’t this crazy,” LaVine said. “I mean I grew up being a Michael Jordan, Kobe [Bryant] fan. I know that some of the greatest scores in NBA history were mid-range, mid-post guys. It’s sad to see it be pushed to the side. I mean Carmelo [Anthony] is one of the greatest scorers ever, but he’s out of the NBA right now somewhat because the analytics don’t want mid-range twos.”
The Houston Rockets helmed by Mike D’Antoni were one of the proponents of taking out the mid-range in their offensive package. They were just shooting 3-pointers and layups which gave them much success. The rest of the NBA, including the Bulls, seem to be moving toward that trend.
LaVine understands why the trend is happening. However, he firmly believes that the best strategy is to let the players take the shots that they need, rather than what’s dictated by the era.
“Playoff basketball [defenses] are eliminating the threes, they become tougher shots, so you want to get to a shot where you know you can make it and you worked on it. I think the mid-range is a lost art now because everyone is moving towards the threes and the analytics. I understand that because how it looks and how it sounds like it makes sense, but sometimes there’s nothing better than putting the ball in your best play-maker’s hands and letting him get the shot he needs rather than the one you want.’’
The game is definitely evolving — but it’s still a matter of wait and see if it is changing for the better.