In the 2014 NBA draft this year the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to take Zach LaVine with the 13th overall pick. LaVine, a player who can play point guard or shooting guard, is a slender 6 foot 5 inches and although he is a player not many fans will know from his time in college basketball, he will be a key part of the Timberwolves future.
LaVine was born in Renton Washington to an athletic family. His father played professional football, while his mother was a softball player so he definitely had an athletic background in his genes. He was Washington’s Mr. Basketball his senior year, and ended up committing to play basketball for UCLA.
At UCLA, being on a team with a group of senior guards LaVine was often the sixth man of the team, bringing outside shooting, unreal athletic ability and energetic plays all over the court. Despite not getting minutes of a starter, LaVine was awarded a spot on the PAC-12 All Freshman Team.
Since LaVine declared for the draft after only one season at UCLA, so he still is very young at only 19 years old. His youth helps explain the moment after he was drafted, where he uttered an expletive and put his head down after his name was announced. This drew a lot of criticism of LaVine on social media by many Timberwolves fans, but I think they just overreacted and that LaVine’s expletive came about because he was overwhelmed that his dream of becoming an NBA player had finally happened, which is essentially how LaVine described what happened when asked about the incident.
Regardless of one’s opinion of what LaVine meant in that moment, the fact is he has worked his tail off to be a great player for the Timberwolves. This was evident in the NBA’s Summer League, as LaVine was consistently one of the best players on the floor no matter who the Timberwolves were playing. With high flying dunks and the ability to make an offensive possession through a shot or pass, LaVine was one of the more electric rookies in Summer League.
Going forward, LaVine will be a key part of the Timberwolves’ future. It helps that he can play the point or shooting guard position, as this allows him to play with or without Ricky Rubio on the floor. Additionally, because LaVine is a good outside shooter, his talents will definitely be needed on a team that doesn’t have much outside shooting now that Kevin Love is going to leave the team.
I am very excited to see LaVine on the Timberwolves, he was very entertaining to watch in Summer League and I can’t wait to see him and Andrew Wiggins take the court together, as the two of them together on the court with their leaping ability will result in ridiculous highlight reel dunks throughout the season. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if LaVine is part of the NBA slam dunk contest this season.
LaVine has a good amount of things to improve, for instance he could stand to put on some weight, as he is fairly thin and he did have some preventable turnovers in Summer League. However, I think over time, LaVine’s athleticism and offensive talent will show that he was a great pick for the Timberwolves.