Zach LaVine is a star for the Chicago Bulls. He is the first option, made the All-Star Team for the first time in 2021 and is the seventh point guard in the NBA. LaVine is averaging 28.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game. However, some critics say his statistics are exaggerated. He’s more likely to be compared to Monta Ellis in 2010, when Stephen Curry had just arrived in the NBA, than become the number one scoring option. However, if he breaks through, Lavin will not only play like a true number one, but is about to put himself in a class that currently only Larry Bird, Kevin Durant and Curry have.

LaVine is next to the 50-40-90club.

Not only does LaVine average over 28 points per game, but he does it incredibly efficiently. See for yourself.

Game points Field goal percentage 3% interest Free throw percentage
28.3 52.7% 43.8% 86.6%

LaVine shooting 43.8% from three-point range while only having eight attempts in the game is incredible. Combine that with the fact that the defense can focus almost entirely on LaVine, since most other bullpen players will miss open layups, and you have to give LaVine credit. Of course, you can criticize the Avalanche’s play as a whole. He’s still averaging 3.8 turnovers per game, which is fifth in the NBA, but you can’t deny his scoring ability.


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Bird, Durant and Curry Club

This is where it gets interesting: The only players to score 28 or more points per game shooting 50-40-90? Larry Bird in 1987 and 1988, Kevin Durant in 2013, and Stephen Curry in 2016. If LaVine and his free throws continue to shoot from the field and from deep, he would be just the fourth player to reach those numbers.

Remember the Monta Ellis comparison? When Ellis did well on a bad team, he finished with 25.5 PPG on 44.9% shooting, 33.8% shooting on three-pointers and 75.3% shooting at the line. Oh, and he played 41.4 minutes per game. Lavin has an average of 35.4. Yes, 25.5 points per game is not insignificant, but when you compare Ellis to the Avalanche’s season? It’s not really justified.

Fire safety requirements

Just because I’m impressed with the Avalanche this season doesn’t mean I’m fooling myself. There are two aspects to LaVine having a near historic season. First, his free throw percentage needs to go up. LaVine is currently shooting 86.6% from the line. He made 187 of 216 attempts. To get it up to 90%? The fastest way to do that is to make 74 free throws in a row. In other words? In the remaining 31 games of the NBA season, it will be difficult to reach 90%. Not impossible, but close, especially for an 82.5% free throw shooter.

The other thing? Look at the other pretty significant stats for Bird, Durant and Curry.

Players/season Victories and losses
Vogel 1987 59-23
Bird 1988 57-25
During 2013 60-22
Curry 2016 73-9
Lavin 2021 19-22*

* Passing 41 games

Bird, Durant and Curry have led their teams to the top spot in their respective conferences in historic seasons. The Avalanche Bulls are currently in tenth place in the Eastern Conference. There’s the fact that Bird, Durant and Curry have all been stars who have supported them. Byrd had Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Durant had Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Curry had Clay Thompson and Draymond Green. Yes, the Avalanche have Cristiano Felicio, but the truth is Billy Donovan refuses to play the legend (I’m a kid). The bottom line is that LaVine doesn’t have the same caliber of fans as former 50-40-90 club members.

Frustration almost

As mentioned earlier, Lavin would have to break through on free throws to really get into the 50-40-90 club, but he’s almost there. Just like the Bulls are almost a playoff team, and they almost won some games they ended up losing. Also… We could go on and on about it, but the truth is that the Bulls are absolutely a competitive team right now, and the only reason they’re even close is Zach LaVine. Make sure you enjoy it.

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