zach lavine analysis and highlights
okay, so lavine had entered the draft and he is a guy who seems to be all over the place in terms of how people view him at this point. Some think he is a top 10 pick based on potential with all-star ability and others wonder what the hell all the hype is about for a guy who was a bench player who often dissapeared.
Im a bruin fan and i always pull for my bruins and i have certainly been wrong(tyler honeycutt) and right(jrue holiday) in the past with prospects coming out of ucla. So i wanted to just give my breakdown of what i think about this guy and try and leave all bias aside.
First here is a little youtbue highlight clip. Highlight clips are always misleading but they can provide a glimpse of a players skills. I read a few weeks back on this site where someone stated how judging dante exum strictly on highlight tapes is silly because they could put together a highlight tape of lavine that would make you think he is a lock for top 5. I think that is pretty accurate. Lavine is oozing with athleticism and potential which will come across in a highlight tape, but what you wont see are the clanks, the dismissive possessions where he just stands in one spot or passes without even trying to attack. but here you go:
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Here are his season stats: 24mpg...9.4ppg...2.5rpg...1.8apg...1stl...1.1to...44%fg...38%3pt
It should be noted that these stats dropped considerably as the season wore on. He was over 50% from both the field and three around the halfway point and only had a handful of good games in the final month or so of the season including the tourny.
Pro's: Athleticism. He is on par with the best athletes in this draft. He seems to glide aroudn the court with little effort. He leaks out on breaks or moves his feet defensively to stay in front of his man or elevates above the rim with little effort. Its like when other guys are straining and putting all their force to chase down a loose ball or get back on defense, zach is covering ground faster and looks like he is'nt even trying. This helps especially on off the ball offense where he can move around off screens ala rip hamilton and get free where he has a very quick release with a release point and good elevation. Getting his shot off as a wing moving around and finding spaces shouldnt be a problem at all. The tools are there for him to be so much more aggressive if he mentally takes the approach that he wants to dominate and not just float around the perimeter and pick and choose his spots. Go watch the first half vs USC where he dropped 19 and looked like a monster. Passing, defense, rebounding are all average. Not a weakness nor a strength. While his shooting went south, just watching this guy shoot, he has great range and many of his misses were just a little long or off by inches. I think he can develop into an elite shooter. He is just a freshman after all.
Con's: strength. Dont think this will be a big deal defensively as few gaurds look to post up these days, but zach was very weak attacking the basket this past season. He finally went hard to the rim in the sweet 16 loss to florida, but other then those glimpses, he often shied away from contact and tried to float around opponents and try scoop shots in the paint rather then seek contact and finish hard. Despite being listed as a combo gaurd with pg potential, he has a long ways to go as a pg, he is much more natural as a scorer. There was a game late in the season vs oregon where kyle anderson and jordan adams were both suspended and zach started at point and actually looked pretty good bringing it up and setting up teammates. His shot was off that game so he made a more concerted effort to play point and it looked like he might have some potential there. When things are not going his way or he doesnt score for periods of time, he tries to force his way back into the action by jacking up poor shots from the perimeter. This is not a good way to get yourself into the game and he is gona have to learn to find other ways to make himself involved when he cant free. Right now, going one on one is not his strength. Majority of his forced drives resulted in turnovers or poor shots. NBA defenders will lock him up and force contested jumpers at this point so a better handle and better driving game will have to be developed.
In summary, zach has a lot of tools and a lot of question marks. He is a very intriguing figure who will no doubt take a few years, but if a gm has patience, he could bring huge rewards. Or he could have his confidence shattered early when he realizes he is in over his head and could never regroup and end up just another athletic guy trying to bounce around the league.
So where do you guys think he should go in the draft? Im curious to hear what this sites general consensus is on him at the moment.
I really appreciate your breakdown. In my Mock placement I have him in the 15-20 range but all it takes is 1 team to drool over his athleticism to think they can incorporate him in an uptempo run & gun style of play to take him higher.
My PG rankings after the top-tier guys in the mid-first range...
LaVine & Ennis can be swapped depending on which team picks where and style of play.
Genuinely love LaVine's game, I think he could definitely be one of the bigger draft day steals seeing as he is projected in the 10-15 range. He's just so athletic, and high calibre athletes rarely have that good jumpshots early on. While he does have bust potential because he's so skinny he checks out in pretty much other facet of the offensive game, with lockdown upside too. Obviously its a massively optimistic scenario, but anyone who can even vaguely resemble a Westbrook / Curry hybrid is worth lottery looks.
Of course everybody is comparing him to Westbrook. Lightly recruited guy went to UCLA, freakish athleticism. I did not see UCLA play any this year besides the game against Duke at MSG since I live on the East Coast. In my opinion it is feast or famine for Mr. Lavine. He could either blow up with his ridiculous athleticism or he could be in the D-league or out of the league within his first year. He is so raw, didn't gt starters minutes at UCLA and his numbers weren't amazing. If you were in his shoes, you had to strike when the iron was hot since he is a projected late-lottery pick. You can't blame the guy for going pro, I just think it is a serious risk that he will be a huge bust.
I dont like the Westbrook comparison. To me Westbrook in his rookie and sophmore years especially was a guy who wanted to shoot free throws every time he touched the ball. I dont see Lavine ever being strong or physical enough to live at the ft line. He will be much more perimeter oriented.
I wouldnt be surprised if hes in the dleague some of next year,especially if he goes after the lottery to a good team(sorta like what happened with Jeremy Lamb).That would be good for his development,wouldnt make him a bust.
McLemore is a better shooter with a more reliable form but Lavine is a better ball handler and does have a very relaxed stroke. McLemore is a little more physically mature but Lavine has pretty much the same frame and there physical development curve seems similar. I actually hopes he falls to Phoenix because it would be the best fit for him or even Minny. He could really get playing time with Love's outlet passing and Rubios running. They run after every basket and he likes to cherry pick.
its hard for me to honestly look at his highlights and not get blown away and im a person who barley gets wowed or even watch highlightes. I was 50/50 on him but its few teams that can take the risk and those are the teams with multiple first round picks like the sixers and sun etc.
ppl are saying he should return to school but It wont make him better....if he returns to school its only for ppl to get a better look at him the ucla systems I wouldn't say makes players that much better stat wise it limits their production it makes them a litte smarter so if I was him I would follow the path of former athletic ucla guards jru,west brook , and bazz leave before your stock gets worse. I think hes the type of player who will benefit from playing and developing under a nba coach then a college .
LaVine would benefit from the D-League where he can develop as a PG. Yes, I do think he can be a PG in the NBA, just not right away.
I think he should be a end of lottery draft pick...I mean why not? He does have a ton of potential but I am not too high on him personally he reminds me of Austin Rivers.
Lavine's a way better athlete.which should help him finish around the rim better,which is one of Rivers flaws. Rivers also an inch shorter ( yes, that is a difference). they also different mindset. Like chad ford once said, Rivers thinks he's kobe, but he's not, doesnt have the length or athleticism. which ends up hurting him because he tries to do things on the court which he simply cant do,which comes back to bite him.
but yes OP, Lavine is a boom or bust prospect. has great upside. but still very raw. no team will let him slide out the 1st. interested on who takes the chance, alot of potential there.
I think he will be fine. Any team from 8-20 is a good fit. To awnser the OP's question I would love to see him go to Chicago. I think best fit is Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix. Doubt he falls past Chicagos first pick.
I would be scared to draft him the mid-lottery. In college he basically got all of his buckets via spot-up 3s or fast break dunks. Even though he's a great ball-handler, he rarely broke down defenders to score in the paint.... would have liked to see that type of shot creation from him more often.
Also the Westbrook comparisons should probably stop. Westbrook was a question mark because he played in Howland's system. A coaching style that prevents huge individual statistical performances on offense mainly because the ball movement ensures that scoring is done by committee. Meanwhile Lavine played under Coach Alford, someone that lets his offense loose allowing players to put up big numbers. Lastly, Westbrook was an intense sure-fire great defender. While scouts had their concerns with Westbrook, they all knew that he could at the very least be a lockdown defender..... You can't say that about Lavine. Lavine got pushed around quite a bit this past season.
That being said, if I have the 15th pick.... I'd take a chance on the kid. At his worst he'll be someone who punishes slower guards in the full court ala Corey Brewer.
Can he be a PG in the triangle?
He could not be a PG, he could be like Jamal Crewford type playe(more athletic)...
I think the combine boosts his stock to late lottery. 1- Charlotte takes him if they receive Detroit's pick, or Atlanta takes him if he falls to them.
I like the Rivers comparison in a sense but Lavine has so much more upside in my opinion. I agree with ImAboutDatAction. Rivers expects himself to do things he cant do, because he can not finish at the rim with explosive plays, through traffic or over elevate over defenders for dunks, layups, or jumpshots. But Lavine can. Mentally Rivers is super aggressive and while Lavine plays assertive at times he has been pretty passive according to a couple of games I didnt even notice him in and from what Ive heard overall from UCLA fans like the OP, but that can be taught and every freshman has had similar issues this year with consistancy even Parker and Wiggins.
The role Austin Rivers and Zach Lavine are expected to develop into is the same role, perimeter oriented, combo gaurd that scores and playmakes off of quick dribble penetration, quick dribble moves to create space, lots of open jumpshots, pull up jumpshots and having a smart shot selection is key. Utilizing screens for shots and cutting lanes. Running good picks and screens to create passing lanes, drives to the basket and open jumpers for himself and teamates. And good transistion ball.
If Rivers was replaced by Lavine New Orleans and Lavine would both be very happy.
I was stunned Lavine declared he would be able to put up some huge numbers next year. And the second half of his college year was abyssmal. It looks like he is making a cash grab and willing to take whatever he gets. That raised red flags with me when Austin Rivers did it, and the flags are back with Lavine.
Lavine's family wasnt too happy with the head coach and how he handled his role. he probably would have went back if he knew he would have a major role on the team and was on the same page with the coach,but that wasnt the case.
i dont mind Lavine's decision. he knew teams wont let his upside slip out the 1st, might as well make the jump now rather than stay in colege where you didnt get along with the coach.
If you were a 6th man Freshman on a power school's roster projected as a lottery pick with an upside to be potentially special at the next level, you wouldn't leave for the NBA? Just saying, it's not a hard decision for most of us if put in that situation.
I hope he falls to the Celtics at 18, would be awesome, but I think once workouts begin and he destroys the combine he'll get back in the lottery.
I think he has just as much, if not more upside than Exum, just needs an opportunity to be given a bigger role. Not sure what team will give him that, but it's a shame Alford didn't give him the confidence to stay in school another season, because he really could have used it.
LaVine was right, Alford's son was getting way too many opportunities that LaVine deserved and there was no guarantee things would change with another year. It's not like Bryce Alford is Doug McDermott.