Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Thanks to Team USA, Zach LaVine has a four-game winning streak for the first time since leaving UCLA. Zach LaVine has been stuck on some terrible teams since becoming the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
LaVine started his career on a Minnesota Timberwolves team that had just traded Kevin Love for the rights to No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins when he entered the league. The Wolves had a flashy young duo to start a new rebuild, but they also went 16-66 during Wiggins and LaVine’s rookie season. The Wolves improved considerably the next season after adding Karl-Anthony Towns, but they still only won 29 games. LaVine tore his ACL in Feb. of his third season and missed most of the next year as he was traded to Chicago for Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls were in an even worse position than Minnesota when LaVine came to the team. Chicago was just starting a full scale rebuild, and the results would be ugly: in LaVine’s first four years on the squad, the Bulls would win the fewest games in the NBA.
Here’s an incredible stat for you: LaVine hasn’t won four straight games since turning pro.
Wild but true.
Now LaVine is finally part of a team that won four straight games thanks to his inclusion on USA Basketball’s men’s squad at the Tokyo Olympics. Team USA lost their opener to France, but then rattled off four straight victories over Iran, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Australia.
Zach LaVine has a four-game winning streak!
To quote my guy @BawlSports’ favorite stat, Zach LaVine has won four games in a row for the first time since he was at UCLA in 2014— Ricky O’Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) August 5, 2021
I had that stat ready to tweet the second the U.S. beat Australia to advance to the gold medal game. The true credit goes to Big Dave Watson, a Bulls podcaster and media personality who has been tracking the stat for years:
Zach Lavine just won 4 games in a row.— Big DAVE (@BawlSports) August 5, 2021
I went through the game logs of LaVine’s entire career, and found nine examples of when his teams won three games in a row with him on the court. There are no four-game winning streaks:
2020-2021: Four three-game winning streaks
2019-2020: Zero three-game winning streaks
2018-2019: One three-game winning streak
2017-2018: Zero three-game winning streaks
2016-2017: One three-game winning streak
2015-2016: Two three-game winning streaks
2014-2015: One three-game winning streak
The last time LaVine was part of a team that won four-straight games was since freshman year at UCLA in 2014.
The subtext of this is that while LaVine has been in Tokyo, his Chicago Bulls are finally making some big moves. With a new front office leading the way, the Bulls added Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Tony Bradley this offseason. The Bulls actually look like a playoff team for once, and LaVine will be the biggest star leading the way.
Zach LaVine has been thriving on Team USA in the Olympics
LaVine is mostly coming off the bench for the Americans, but he’s provided a great boost of energy and athleticism when he enters the game. He’s had several high-flying moments in Tokyo, and is also playing some surprisingly good defense:
Zach LaVine looks like he is playing at 2x speed. pic.twitter.com/4CazPnvU0r— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) August 5, 2021
Jrue Holiday throws up the pretty lob for Zach Lavine pic.twitter.com/RXoe7OBmbk— hoops bot (@hoops_bot) August 5, 2021
Tie it up, @ZachLaVine! #TokyoOlympicspic.twitter.com/iHpLwGkfzc— Team USA (@TeamUSA) August 3, 2021
More four-game winning streaks are hopefully around the corner for LaVine when he gets back to the Bulls. Just know that he certainly paid his dues before finally finding a decent team around him.