Donovan: LaVine has been talking like a leader during Bulls camp

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Zach LaVine seen here talking to DeMar DeRozan, is saying all the right things during training camp, as far as being a leader on the floor. LaVine is hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career.

    Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Zach LaVine seen here talking to DeMar DeRozan, is saying all the right things during training camp, as far as being a leader on the floor. LaVine is hoping to reach the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/14/2021 8:17 PM

With the Bulls' revamped roster, Zach LaVine is in a great spot to prove he can lead a team to the playoffs. Coach Billy Donovan said LaVine is off to a great start in that department.

"This training camp, he's been off the chart," Donovan said Thursday at the Advocate Center. "He's been absolutely incredible. And not from a playing standpoint, but what's coming out of his mouth is really, really great.

 

"He's seeing the game in a way that I would say are the things impacting winning and losing. I think sometimes when you're a talented player, you can rely a lot of times on your own individual talent and scoring. He's starting to realize, 'OK, how do I lead? How do I bring four guys with me? How do I stay locked in defensively?'"

Besides receiving guidance from new teammates DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, who have been on successful teams, LaVine also learned from his Olympic experience this summer.

"You can see a lot of growth in his messaging to the team in terms of what he's trying to establish as it relates to habits and identity and a commitment and a focus," Donovan said. "He's walked that every day and I admire him for that."

Recoveries on schedule:

Patrick Williams (ankle) and Tony Bradley (back) were able to participate in all of Thursday's practice, so both are on target to make their preseason debuts Friday when the Bulls host Memphis.

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"If everything kind of goes well (at Friday's shootaround), I think we're optimistic that he'll be able to play against Memphis, but I don't want to jump to conclusions," coach Billy Donovan said.

Roster decisions close:

The Bulls have a vacant roster spot available, as well as their second two-way slot. But coach Billy Donovan said he hasn't had any serious discussions about whether to open the season with 14 or 15 players on the regular roster.

Donovan said he's concerned about having enough players to practice if the team runs into a rash of injuries again. With Coby White expected to be out at least another month recovering from shoulder surgery, the Bulls might also bring in another shooting guard.

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