Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who Is Zach LaVine?

Zach LaVine — Mile High Club

Who Is Zach LaVine?

A one-and-done product from UCLA became the Minnesota Timberwolves' 13th overall selection from the 2014 NBA Draft — high-flying guard Zach LaVine (6' 5" 187 lbs) wasted little time electrifying & wowing the Las Vegas Summer League crowds.

Questions about his abilities will soon be answered — as the team that drafted him recently made a monumental mega-trade for the ages. Minnesota Timberwolves sent their superstar power forward — Kevin Love, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a package headlined by 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick: Andrew Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 overall draft pick: Anthony Bennett & forward Thaddeus Young. While the Philadelphia 76ers receives Miami's 2015 first-round pick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute & Alexey Shved.

Only time will tell if this trade pans-out for all those involved. What surely is a definite outcome is that Minnesota Timberwolves may very well become their own version of Los Angeles Clippers' Lob City ala Ricky Rubio's behind-the-head, no-look lobs to Wiggins' high-flying and LaVine's high-soaring dunks.





Check out some of Zach LaVine's best, high-flying highlights from 2014 Las Vegas Summer League!
Prospect Analysis
Strengths
  • Good size for his position
  • Can play either guard spot
  • Big-time athlete
  • Spectacular dunker 
  • Length
  • Good 3-point shooter
  • Young with great upside

Weaknesses
  • Has to get bigger and stronger
  • Needs to refine playmaking skills
  • Shot selection needs tightening

NBA projection: LaVine has been projected as a lottery pick by some draft analysts. Others see him falling farther into the first round

2013-14 Season
LaVine started out the season scoring in double figures in nine of his first 10 games. His production tapered off a bit in Pac-12 play, but he still made the league’s all-freshman team. He ranked fourth among Pac-12 freshman in scoring and 3-point percentage.

Key statistics: 9.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.1 tpg, 24.4 mpg, .441 FG, .375 3PT, .691 FT

Cool statistic: Only one freshman in UCLA history made more 3-pointers than LaVine’s 48. That was Jason Kapono, who made 82 in 1999-00.

Reminds me of: Russell Westbrook

What Insiders Say
UCLA coach Steve Alford
“He is so explosive on offense that he can stretch [an] entire defense. He is very confident and fun to coach.”

What Outsiders Say
Atlantic Division executive
"He's a very good passer, but he just doesn't have the body right now, the strength levels, physically, to compete against stronger guards. He's got real quick twitch muscles. He can get his shot off against just about anybody, and that includes our league.”

David Aldridge's Big Board 2014: Point Guards | Rank: No. 5
TNT Analyst David Aldridge breaks down the top prospects at each position
Freshman Zach LaVine plays the two for UCLA, with the 6-foot-9 Anderson doing a lot of the ballhanding, but projects as a point guard in the pros. Scouts think at least one more year in college would do him a lot of good, though the expectation is that he'll come out when UCLA's NCAA run is over.

"He's a very good passer," an Atlantic Division man said, of LaVine, "but he just doesn't have the body right now, the strength levels, physically, to compete against stronger guards. He's got real quick twitch muscles. He can get his shot off against just about anybody, and that includes our league. But you don't know if he's going to shoot off his back leg, or shoot it coming down. Reckless is what I would say. He can get it off effortlessly, but he's very sloppy in how he does it." — NBA.com

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