The education of Zach LaVine continues at Bulls camp
The expectations for LaVine and Lauri Markkanen are sky-high this season, especially for LaVine, who enters his sixth year but has yet to play in the postseason.
Of course, Zach LaVine practiced Thursday.
As did Lauri Markkanen.
Get used to it, boys.
Otto Porter and Thaddeus Young had the day off, and Wendell Carter Jr. (bruised tailbone) was shut down after hitting the floor twice, but LaVine and Markkanen were at it again. Every day so far, every drill. No exceptions.
That’s what coach Jim Boylen has ordered for his two core players.
“Zach hasn’t missed a beat; Lauri is doing great,’’ Boylen said. “I told those guys they have to take every rep. I don’t want Zach and Lauri coming out of practice. They’ve got to take every rep, and they’ve been doing it.’’
The chase for greatness comes with a price.
The Bulls have made no secret about their hopes for Markkanen and LaVine this season, admittedly building the roster around them so they can take the perceived next step toward stardom.
Boylen discussed LaVine again, specifically about getting him to play with an edge from tip to final horn.
“What we’ve talked about is his edge,’’ Boylen said. “He’s got to hit the paint in his first couple of possessions, and he’s got to try to get a layup, either running or getting to the rim, on his first couple of possessions. Get himself going and just play with that edge, that athleticism that he has. Start the game angry. Start the game ready to prove, not just kind of feel your way into a game. Start the game forcing that thing.
‘‘He’s been great. He’s been so coachable. We’ve already had a video session like we do, and he was great. When he plays with an edge and he gets downhill and he attacks, I think he’s as good as anybody in the league.’’
LaVine won’t dispute that, either. Besides working on his edge, he also wants to develop into a leader and a winner. The Bulls have been hoping to see those traits blossom since they acquired him in the Jimmy Butler trade in 2017.
Porter and Young are perfect Sherpas for that climb.
“The hardest thing in any sport is learning how to win,’’ LaVine said. “If it was easy, everybody would be a championship team. I think Thad definitely brings some veteran leadership. Even Otto was in the playoffs and on a winning team when he got traded here. So you can always seek dudes like that for advice, but we’ve got to learn how to win as a group. I don’t think one or two players can just help that because they came from winning cultures. We’ve got to do it collectively.’’
Even though Tomas Satoransky and Coby White were brought in to try to take his starting point-guard job, Kris Dunn had nothing but positive things to say about them, especially White, the No. 7 pick in the draft.
“Really good player,’’ Dunn said.
“He can shoot the ball. He’s working on his decision-making. He’s doing a great job with that right now. And guarding. I think he’s going to be big-time for us.
“Sometimes he doesn’t want to step on any toes. Me, [Ryan Arcidiacono], Satoransky, we’re trying to do a good job of not showing him the ropes but kind of teaching him the things that people taught us.’’