I never understood the hype for Zach LaVine in the 2014 NBA Draft. With all of the talent that this draft possessed, it did not make any sense that a guy who averaged only 9.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game being was considered with a lottery pick. Even worse is that not only was LaVine being considered in the lottery, he was taken in the lottery. With the 13th overall pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves made the worst selection of last night (even worse than the Toronto Raptors‘ first-round selection) by drafting the UCLA guard.
LaVine is an athletic freak, and the Timberwolves clearly fell in love with what he could be later on in his basketball career. Certainly, he has the physical tools to be a solid NBA player. He has the ability to throw down incredible dunks in transition, but after that, it is extremely difficult to find another skill that is evidenced in LaVine’s film. In a draft loaded with talent, Minnesota’s selection of LaVine is way too risky. If Minnesota wanted a shooting guard, Michigan State‘s Gary Harris was still available and his basketball skills are much more observable than LaVine’s.
As a shooting guard, LaVine only shot 37.5 percent from a college-shortened three ball, and that will have to improve as an NBA shooting guard. Another glaring weakness is that LaVine will struggle in the half court to create shots in isolation situations. With all of the athleticism he displays, he does not get into the lane nearly enough. His shot selection is not good, as he consistently settles for contested jumpers. When he does get to the rim, he struggles mightily to finish over length and through contact, even with his strong hand. Furthermore, LaVine’s basketball IQ is substandard, and he has a tendency to become a high volume shooter instead of kicking the ball outside to wide-open teammates.
It is truly astonishing that LaVine was taken six picks before Harris considering the difference in skill level between the two shooting guards. Additionally, it is shocking that LaVine went in front of both UCLA teammates Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson. I do not see how LaVine improves on all of these weaknesses he displayed during his freshman year at UCLA, and in the end, he will finish his career as a bust who should not have never been considered in the lottery of this draft.