Zach LaVine on new-look Bulls: 'I'm looking forward to seeing how good this team can be'

The Chicago Bulls guard spoke to Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill about the team’s acquisitions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, his experience in the Olympics and this season’s ranking in NBA2K22.

Zach joined Yahoo Sports thanks to Mountain Dew and NBA2K22, which is available now.

Video Transcript

VINCENT GOODWILL: Welcome to Yahoo Sports. Vincent Goodwill here with Chicago Bulls star, Olympian, gold medalist Zach LaVine here on behalf of NBA2K and Mountain Dew. Zach, we're going to get to that in a minute. I'm curious about the Olympic experience. Like, you played a critical role and the USA turning things around, especially as it got to the knockout rounds. What was that like for you?

ZACH LAVINE: We had to become a team, man. And for me, to be a part of winning basketball and going after something like that, it was incredible. You put everything aside. You're out there playing for your country. You're representing your families.

And I don't think everybody expected me to take on the role that I did, try to be a menace on defense. And that was the role I was given. That's what they ask me to do, and I was all for it. You know, I feel like I've taken steps each and every year. I've gotten better. Now with the team that we have around us, now I think I'm extremely excited for this opportunity ahead of us.

VINCENT GOODWILL: You guys acquired Nikola Vucevic before the trade deadline. You got DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball. Like, you guys are really making a jump to be relevant-- not just relevant, but to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. How do you think you and DeMar DeRozan are going to sort of occupy the same space and be able to play off of each other?

ZACH LAVINE: I mean, when you have one goal in mind and you have two very good players, I don't think it's going to be hard at all. You know, he's been with great teams. He's a great player. And I think that's just going to elevate everybody else around him.

You know, I'm more than excited to, you know, give him-- so a very high-IQ player. I'm looking forward to seeing how good this team could be. Because at the end of the day, everybody's 0-0 in the beginning. We got to start from the ground. And we're going to try to build stuff.

VINCENT GOODWILL: I mean, you're coming in with a new layer of respect and validation amongst your team, as you're a guy that's been there the longest. Do you feel like you need to take more of a vocal role to sort of set the tone, or do you feel like that type of thing will develop organically in time?

ZACH LAVINE: I think I've developed my own way of leading and continue to get better with it. With these new guys, great basketball minds, great players, I think we can learn from each other. And I think that'll figure itself out.

I'm going to be myself, regardless. I'm going to go out there. I'm going to show with my hard work and the way I play. And when I do talk, I think it will hold some weight.

We have a good team with a lot of different personalities. But I think a lot of people want to still improve things. I have a chip on my shoulder, like always, and that's always something good to have when you have a team like that.

VINCENT GOODWILL: You mentioned the chip on your shoulder. The Bulls could have extended you this offseason. They chose to, you know, replenish the roster. Does that place a chip on your shoulder, or do you look at that as just being a function of business? How did you take all of that?

ZACH LAVINE: It's business. At the end of the day, I'll have my own things I want to go after. I have a lot of different motivations in my life that I try to use on the court. But I'm focused on, you know, obviously, this next upcoming year and seeing how good I can help this team win and obviously keep developing myself and getting better as a player.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Zach, I know you. You just gave me a politically correct answer. I know what that means. I can see that chip on your shoulder right now. I can see it.

ZACH LAVINE: Well, it grows every year, dog.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, you're with us here on behalf of Mountain Dew, NBA2K, with the DEW Zone, the green balls made by Wilson. Tell us about that.

ZACH LAVINE: Uh, great little partnership that we've got going. Obviously, I wasn't even in the 3-point contest, got to shoot the DEW balls. I'm in the new 2K, taking part of the DEW challenge and the DEW zone. And it's been really good.

They're a great partnership. They're with the NBA. And I like the way how they branded with other people that are really good guys. They let you be yourself. And, you know, I think we'll develop this relationship going forward.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, look, NBA2K comes out September 10. If I remember correctly, you're rated as an 87, which is, I think, like 16th. So everybody has like, gripes about their rating. When you found out about your rating, what did you think?

ZACH LAVINE: I-- I-- I don't really get after it like that. I used to really, really care about it. But at the end of the day, they're going to do what they want to do is best. Now, they may underrate some guys. They might overrate some guys. They're going to get responses, regardless. And that's good for 2K.

I let my game do the talking. I think I've got better each and every year I've been-- not only in the game, but at real-- in real life. So, you know, that's what I-- what I try to worry about. And I enjoy the game when I play.

VINCENT GOODWILL: You can check out Zach and everybody else and all the other dudes, new athletes for NBA2K when it comes out September 10. Zach LaVine, thank you for joining us here on Yahoo Sports, man.

ZACH LAVINE: Always my guy, I appreciate you.

VINCENT GOODWILL: I appreciate you.