14 - Zach LaVine

6-6, 180 Point Guard/Shooting Guard
UCLA Freshman
03/10/95 (27.7 yrs)
Bothell, WA
High School
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling

NBA Comparison: Russell Westbrook

Strengths: Blessed with truly high level explosiveness, LaVine was one of the most intriguing prospects in college basketball last season … Shows electric speed and quickness, and is certainly one of the best leapers in the 2014 draft class … Really good body control as well … Pretty long … His upside as a prospect has a way of jumping out of the TV screen when you watch him play … Plays an exciting and fairly flashy style, and is a highlight reel dunker in the transition game … Is a magnet for run-outs, as his speed and acceleration allows him to generally be one of the first players down the floor after missed shots … Has a sweet looking jump shot, and his range extends past the NBA 3-point line … Also blessed with a swift (yet unorthodox) release and a strong ability to create space to get his shots off … Able to hit shots off of screens or off the dribble, making him a guy who must be accounted for no matter what on the perimeter … More than adequate ball-handling ability … Will be a tough cover due to his athleticism and shooting skills, as he can slash when crowded or stop and pop if the defender gives him space … Gets great elevation and has a high release giving him a great ability to get shots off … Has the ability to put up points in bunches … Already garnered experience playing as an instant offense threat off the bench in his lone year at UCLA, and that role will likely benefit him at the NBA level, as he gains experience … Would likely be most effective playing in an up-tempo system … Some think LaVine could develop into a combo guard at the next level, and he has the physical and athletic tools to do so … Shows finesse as a player, and is extremely fluid and smooth … A late blooming prospect, who wasn’t a highly touted recruit until midway through his Sr. season of high school … Could really just be scratching the surface of his true ability …

Weaknesses: LaVine needs to develop more consistency and improve his basketball IQ … Has a tendency to settle for too many pull up jump shots and doesn’t attack the basket nearly as much as he should off the dribble … Got to the foul line at a poor rate for someone with his shot creating potential  last season (1.8 FTA per night on 69%) … Pretty thin and frail, needs to put on more weight … Not a physical player at all, and really struggles with any aspect of the game dealing with contact right now … Has a raw feel for the game, and decides to take some bad shots at times … Though he’s projected by many to be a combo guard, LaVine didn’t show a great ability to handle double teams and struggled some when pressured … Is a pretty underwhelming defensive player, and will have a tough time finding consistent minutes on an NBA team until he shows more effort and strength on this end … Doesn’t seem to be a very tough player. Body strength will obviously help his ability to play through contact … Though he has good shooting skills, his jumper faded badly down the stretch last season and rendered him pretty ineffective throughout the month of March … Struggles mightily to contribute when his jumper isn’t falling … Is a very promising prospect, but will need time to develop overall before he’s ready to play consistently in the NBA …

Overall: LaVine is another one of the Seattle-bred players who shows an intriguing skill set and will find himself playing in the NBA next season … His elite level, explosive athletic ability makes him an eye-opening player, and his jump shot and upside add more fuel to the fire … He needs to gain weight, polish and develop a better understanding of the game, but overall LaVine is a pretty impressive prospect who will only be 19 when he is selected in the draft … Drafting LaVine is a little bit like taking a player out of high school. He will require patience, but few in this draft have as much long term potential … Look for him to be a certain 1st round pick , with a chance to jump up into the lottery …

Jorrye Nixon 5/14/14

Strengths: At 6’5 LaVine is one of the top athletes not only of his class but in all of college basketball … LaVine has the athleticism to win the NBA Dunk contest next year, his freakish leaping ability and smoothness is on a truly elite level … Grew 5 inches in the last 3 years going from a short quick point guard to a player with the size to player either backcourt position … Not your typical point guard by any means, but the prototype of the new NBA PG: strong, quick, and excellent in transition as well as half court situations … His verticality and explosiveness are off the charts and he uses them to finish around the rim with powerful dunks but also to jump stop and elevate in a dime … The long arms and skinny body are perfect for a wing but as a point guard he will have to develop his upper body and become stronger to handle the physicality of the PG position … His game resembles Westbrook, great in transition, quick … Defensively he has very quick hands but he relies a little too much on his athleticism to save himself … Hard worker, seems a little shy, he impressed many people during summer workouts with UCLA where he could be the last gift of an impressive list of NBA players left by coach Howland.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t blow by people nearly as much as he should, too often he is satisfied with his jumpshot and although he has a far from perfect shooting technique, he’s fairly consistent with it … He needs to learn to get to the basket in half court situations, and part of that is getting stronger, but he also needs to get tougher mentality … Improving that aspect of his game will really elevate his game into the stratosphere … His ball handling is great but his decision-making needs to improve if he is going to take his game to another level … Consistency. He will have to learn to bring it every possession 100% … Not a highly vocal guy, so if he wants to be a point guard, that is an area he should focus on improving …

Notes: A late bloomer. Flew under the radar for most of his high school career but ultimately moved into the top 50 in his senior season … Not has hyped as many of his colleagues from the dream class of 2013 but he has all the tools to become a great point guard/combo guard in the NBA, and may actually be the best incoming freshman prospect in the Pac 12 … Measured 6’3 (in shoes) 167 lbs, with a 6’6 wingspan at the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy …

Rick Pietro 8/7/13

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