Name: Zach LaVine Age: 19 School: UCLA
Height: 6’5 Weight: 180 Projected Position: PG/SG
9.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.1 tpg (24.4 minutes per game)
44.1 FG%, 69.1 FT%, 37.5 3FG%
54.5 TS%, 52.4 eFG%, 20.1 USG%, 12.6 AST%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
LaVine has the makings of one day being a good perimeter shooter. He has a high, quick release, good follow-through (at times), and range beyond the college three-point line. Lavine does need to watch a tendency to have his elbow pointing out away from his body as he shoots as it often causes some odd rotation on his shot. He has the ability to hit his jumper off the pass or a quick dribble, and if he has time to get set, he can be a good spot-shooter. LaVine has good size and gets great lift from his legs on his jumper, allowing him to get good looks over bigger defenders. He needs to work on using his dribble more to set up his jumper, especially when he has only one defender in the area. LaVine needs to work on moving without the ball, especially using screens and cuts well to create space. LaVine takes wide routes around screens, giving defenders plenty of room to follow him. He needs to work on not drifting off of the catch and dribble when he goes up for a shot, as well as his tendency to fade away on almost every jumper he takes. His shot selection isn’t as bad as it first appears; he just makes shots more difficult than they need to be.
LaVine can be very effective when he looks to get into the lane and to the basket, though he has problems finishing with defenders around. He has a strong first step, can go to either side, and he has good body control to get by defenders. LaVine will shy away from contact and it often leads to some poor shots around the basket. Though he will look to go left at times, he still will often try to finish with his right hand. He does a good job keeping his head up and seeing the defense when he gets into the lane, and if the defense helps quickly, LaVine can find open teammates well. LaVine does a good job using screens to create separation from his man and get to the basket, though he can work on coming off them a bit tighter.
LaVine is an above-average ballhandler, able to use both hands well and having shown a few advanced dribbles he’s developed to keep the defense off balance, including a nice change-of-pace dribble and the beginnings of a good crossover. He has good control, keeps the ball low and close to his body, though he does need to watch overdribbling. LaVine is more in control going to his right, though he had improved his ability to go left by the end of the season. One of LaVine’s biggest issue as a ballhandler is that he spends a lot of time dribbling but not actually going anywhere, or in some cases even ending up further away from the basket than he started. He also needs to work on using his dribble more effectively to shoot his jumper. LaVine sees the floor very well and can be a very strong passer. He does a good job finding open teammates when he draws help defenders off of penetration and his passes are usually crisp and on target. LaVine has also shown a knack for making post entry passes well, as well as making some good reads off of pick-and-roll situations.
Free Throw Shooting
LaVine is a good free throw shooter, with a consistent routine, smooth shooting motion and good follow-through. LaVine’s biggest issue is that he doesn’t get to the free throw line enough (1 free throw attempt for every 4 field goal attempts), mostly because he settles for long jumpers. His free-throw percentage doesn’t show how good a free-throw shooter he could be because with so few attempts, a few misses hurts his percentage.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
LaVine is a below-average on-ball defender. He positions himself well between his man and the basket, but often when he tries to move laterally, he just crosses his feet, eventually getting beat. He is active on the defensive end, but spends too much time standing straight up when defending. He has the size and speed to guard multiple positions and his long arms allow him to disrupt passing lanes and close on shooters. LaVine needs to work harder at getting over and through screens, especially against shooters, and he needs to learn how to use angles to cut his man off whether he loses them on a screen or in isolation. Off the ball, LaVine positions himself well, though he can find himself wandering too far away from his man, and he can find himself losing his man because he pays too much attention to the ball. When he is in position, he can be a good help defender though, and can move back and forth between his man and help position rather easily. LaVine doesn’t react well on or off the ball to his man’s movements and ends up a step or two behind them if they make a move. He needs to work on navigating through screens off the ball, especially getting caught in the lane area, and work on not letting his man get a lot of room to get set for a shot. He has below-average defensive awareness, and at times, seems very unsure what to do against an offense with a lot of movement.
LaVine can be a decent rebounder, especially when he uses his athleticism well to go up after missed shots that others can’t get to. He can be quick after long rebounds and is capable of pushing the ball in transition himself once he gets it. However, many times, LaVine actually will leak out in transition, leaving his teammates to try and secure the rebound. In some cases, it leads to an easy transition basket. Other times, the opponent grabs the rebound and a man is now left open because LaVine is nowhere to be found.
LaVine is very good in transition, especially running one of the wings, or getting out in front of the defense. LaVine’s long strides get him down the court quickly and he is capable of finishing in spectacular fashion. He has trouble if the transition defense has gotten back and he doesn’t have a straight line to the basket. Eventually, LaVine should become an option as a spot-up shooter behind the arc on the break.
A bench player, LaVine stilled averaged over 24 minutes per game. He is very athletic and a great leaper, but his understanding of the game and many of the fundamentals are nowhere near that of a good college player, let alone an NBA player. LaVine has shown he can shoot from the perimeter, but he makes shots more difficult than he needs to be. He has also been good when looking to get to the basket, but he has a lot of problems trying to finish with defenders around. Defensively, he lacks many of the fundamentals to be a good defender, but because of his athleticism and length, the potential is there. LaVine built his name this year with some spectacular dunks and some nice shooting, but once teams knew to watch out for him, his production dipped.
Draft Value: Late 1st – Early 2nd – #29-39
The idea is that LaVine is to eventually become a point guard, and he has shown some good vision, handling, and passing skills, but he is years away from that being the case at the NBA level. His athletic ability and shooting are a nice start to have, and there may be a lot of potential here, so a team taking a flier at the end of the 1st round isn’t bad, but I’m not sure he has shown enough to warrant it. The team that takes them though should be one which has control over its D-League affiliate so they can oversee his development.
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