It has been an up-and-down season for Bulls guard Zach LaVine, but he’s not done

SHARE It has been an up-and-down season for Bulls guard Zach LaVine, but he’s not done
zach2.jpg

Twenty-four games aren’t enough for Bulls guard Zach LaVine.

The tendinitis flaring up in his surgically repaired left knee would seem to be an obvious warning sign for him to shut things down with only 12 games left in the season, but that’s not how LaVine is wired.

‘‘I’m gonna hoop and always want to hoop,’’ LaVine said Tuesday. ‘‘That’s my take on it.’’

Plus, LaVine still has a little unfinished business. Since blowing out the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee in February 2017 with the Timberwolves, LaVine has wanted to return with limited speed bumps.

For the most part, he has done so. Have there been inconsistencies in his game? Absolutely, but nothing unexpected. So it’s important for LaVine to enter the offseason feeling as though he has recaptured his rhythm on offense.

RELATED STORIES ‘Big Apple’ bites back as Bulls shoot themselves toward the league basement Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine still thinks he’s starting material

‘‘Still just getting my feet wet, man,’’ LaVine said when asked about shutting it down for the season. ‘‘There’s still some games to go out there and get in a rhythm before getting into the offseason and working out.

‘‘I mean, I’ve had some parts where I’ve been frustrated and I’ve had some parts where I’ve been happy with my play and the team’s play. But I didn’t have any expectations, really, coming into it. I was excited to get back on the court and get back out here and playing, stuff like that.’’

The best news about LaVine is his health. The tendinitis is minor, and he took part in the Bulls’ light practice Tuesday.

On the court, however, he has had mixed results. Overall, he is averaging 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. He’s shooting career lows from the field (38 percent) and from three-point range (34 percent), but he occasionally has been head-shakingly good.

He scored 23 points in 22 minutes Jan. 31 against the Trail Blazers, 27 points Feb. 5 against the Kings and a season-high 35 points Feb. 9 against his former Timberwolves teammates.

But there also have been some bad games, including a 1-for-11 shooting night March 5 against the Celtics and a 3-for-15 effort March 9 against the Pistons.

‘‘He’s had some really, really good moments for us, including right when he came back when he was on the 20-minute plan,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said. ‘‘I thought he played great. That first game, he came out and hit his first shot and carried some momentum over those first three games. He had the Minnesota game, which is as good a performance as we’ve had all year from any individual player. He’s had other good moments, as well.

‘‘There’s been some highs and lows throughout this process, as there is with any player that comes back from a lengthy absence from an injury like Zach had, especially a significant one, like an ACL. He has shown a lot of things.

‘‘You have to see the overall package with the athleticism and the ability to shoot with range. I know he’s looking forward to a summer to hopefully get that rhythm back. And we are, as well.’’

Maybe, but patience isn’t exactly LaVine’s strongest attribute. That’s one thing that’s been consistent all season.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

The Latest
The second game of the series Tuesday was scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m.
More than 50 events across Chicago featuring local designers will take place in October, with many open to the public and free to attend.
The woman was shot about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday in the 2900 block of West 63rd Street.
Sanford will stick around as a depth forward option after signing a one-year contract Tuesday, while Misiak — a 2023 second-round pick — turns pro with a three-year entry-level contract.