Zach LaVine must walk the walk in Chicago Bulls Round 1 series vs. BucksRyan Heckmanon April 12, 2022 at 3:30 pm

On Easter Sunday, the Chicago Bulls begin their 2022 NBA Playoffs journey — and it will not be easy.

The Bulls finished as the sixth seed, of course, so they must go toe to toe with the reigning Champions, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. This is a team that the Bulls went 0-4 against during the regular season, with each loss seemingly getting worse as the season went on.

That trend of getting worse as the season went on wasn’t just between the Bulls and Bucks, it was a trend in general for Chicago. The Bulls were tied for first place in mid-February, and have since dropped to where they’re at now.

If the Bulls are to stand any chance, whatsoever, at beating the Bucks, they are going to need a player or two to step up in a big way. As we’ve written here recently, the Bulls have lacked any form of vocal leadership on the court this season. There has been no visible, motivating factor in head coach Billy Donovan, as that’s not his coaching style.

Zach LaVine is going to have to step up and be the leader these Chicago Bulls need in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

The one guy who is most capable of being that real, vocal leader for the Bulls is Zach LaVine. Out of the Bulls’ big three, he is the most vocal of them all on the court and has the capability of having that tough, gritty attitude come out in physical form — and the Bulls need it.

As of whether or not he can be that guy, he certainly sounds like he can.

In LaVine’s most recent chat with NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson, he proclaimed all of the right things:

“You know I’m a confident dude. You know my confidence is in my game. I put the work in for it. I’m not scared of anything … I think it just shows I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team win. I can be very effective at whatever role is given me and still make a big impact and be myself.”

We have heard these types of comments from LaVine in the past. He’s always had that “never back down” type of attitude. He’s taken over games in the past. But, one thing is different now: these are the playoffs.

LaVine has never been to the playoffs before, but this is an opportunity he has to relish.

At this point, the Bulls are going in as enormous underdogs. Many fans don’t believe they’ll even win one game. But, that’s a valid opinion. This team, on paper, shouldn’t win one game against the Bucks.

It’s going to be that extra “something” that the Bulls will need to come out with. They have not played with that fire, that passion, that championship-level teams play with. Donovan is not that type of coach, and the team’s attitude has reflected that of Donovan on the court over the past two months.

It’s at this time that LaVine needs to put all of those words into action, now. He must become the leader of this team. He must attack the basket. He must play tenacious defense. Walk the walk, so to speak. It can’t be all talk, now. He can say all the right things, but this is where his team and his city needs to see a real, visible change.

Will LaVine become that guy on Sunday? Let’s hope so.

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