Bulls' LaVine: Billy Donovan is best coach in the world for me


The Chicago Bulls are having an incredible run this season.

A high-caliber team with players like DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu and Nikola Vučević makes the game more fun for Zach LaVine, a game that LaVine says is "life." And having a great coach is the icing on the cake.

"Billy's (Donovan) the best coach in the world for me," LaVine told WGN Radio's Kevin Powell on Tuesday. "I mean, I've gotten along with him more than any other coach I've had in my career and I've had a good amount of them. Billy's great. I talk and text with him all the time. The main thing about him, he cares about you more as a person than a basketball player.

"He worries more about how you're doing as a person and cares about that more than basketball and that's what I really appreciate, 'cause to be honest not everybody's like that in the world of sports, so it's a breath of fresh air once you can actually have a friend as a coach."

The Bulls hired Donovan to be the head coach in September 2020. The team spent the past year in rebuild mode, including signing DeRozan in the offseason. LaVine and DeRozan faced each other during this year's All-Star game in Cleveland.

"It was really fun to go out there, interact with him and obviously the season that he's having, and the month he's having has just been incredible. The success the team has had is something different for me. This year's been incredible. I just want to continue to go out there and try to help us win and get to that next level."

LaVine talked about how the United Center's atmosphere has grown since joining the team in 2017.

"Since being here, obviously the excitement and everything has grown but to a point now where it's like I haven't seen it before. When the Bulls are good and competitive, I think the world is a lot better and sports is a lot better 'cause it's one of the best franchises ever. And they've been, I don't want to say spoiled in a way, but six champions in six appearances is something that doesn't happen. Getting back to competitiveness and having the fans go out there and see a winning basketball team is big for me 'cause that's all I've wanted to do since being here."

The Bulls will likely make it to the playoffs and, if so, it will be LaVine's first time. The Bulls have had difficulty playing against top-tier teams, especially now that they're dealing with injuries, but LaVine has this message for critics:

"We haven't had the best record against them, but we're at least building some chemistry now. We haven't been fully whole. We're still going out there competing. I think we're getting a measuring stick for what it takes and what it will take to beat these types of teams.

"We're a new group, so I'm glad we're going through it now. You can always learn lessons and take your bumps early on in the season, and then when it comes time to it, obviously we'll see what we have."

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