Donovan benching LaVine about holding stars to standard originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The NBA is a star-driven league.
Of course, role players and bench depth are important. But teams’ fortunes largely will sink or swim by their starpower.
Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan has coached many of them during his eight NBA seasons. Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook. Paul George. Chris Paul. Carmelo Anthony. DeMar DeRozan. Zach LaVine.
Donovan knows the dynamic as well as anyone.
That’s what made his bold decision to bench LaVine down the stretch of Friday night’s loss to the Orlando Magic so potentially impactful moving forward. Particularly with how Donovan handled explaining it, both to LaVine and in media sessions.
He demanded that LaVine meet a standard of play that moved past him missing 13 of 14 shots. He did so without being punitive, even acknowledging that he understood why his two-time All-Star guard would double down on Sunday on his belief that Donovan made the wrong decision. And he emphasized the open communication he has with all players — stars or not — that is essential for a team to stay united during tumultuous times.
“I think if you want to have a good team, they have to be,” Donovan said at the Advocate Center following Sunday’s practice, when asked if the same rules apply to all players, regardless of status, when it comes to meeting an overall standard of play.
One could certainly quibble if this always is the case. Stars oftentimes get more leeway regarding mistakes because their talent alone is so essential to winning.
But Donovan, in a public departure for him, started the theme of Friday night before the game, when he asked more from DeRozan, LaVine and Nikola Vučević in a response to a mostly innocuous question about the Bulls’ slow starts.
Nevertheless, Donovan insisted this leeway only applies to the offensive end.
“It’s not going to necessarily be democratic offensively,” he said. “Now, if one of those guys has two guys on him, they need to pass the ball and throw it to an open man. But generally, those guys are going to have more shots than anybody…
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Author : NBC Sports Chicago
Publish date : 2022-11-20 19:58:27
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