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2014 NBA Draft Prospect Evaluation: Zach LaVine

We are nearing the end of our draft profiles with only 10 days remaining until the 2014 NBA Draft which is set to take place on June 26, 2014. This week we take a look at UCLA guard, Zach LaVine.

Evan Mielke covers College Basketball for Raining3s.com and provides his analysis:

Raining3s’ 2014 NBA Draft Evaluation: Zach LaVine

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Zach LaVine (19 years old, Freshman SG, UCLA via Renton, Washington)

Physical tools:

Standing at about 6 foot 6 and weighing 180 pounds, LaVine is your prototypical NBA SG, or at least he has the beginnings of the frame for one.

YouTube Highlights:

Athletic ability:

Hyper-athletic. LaVine is one of those rare guys who seem to just inherently understand how to put the ball in the basket. It may not be pretty, and it may not be orthodox, but it works. Second to only Andrew Wiggins in the open court in terms of first-step explosiveness.

LaVine recorded the highest maximum vertical leap at a recent Lakers workout, measuring an amazing 46 inches: 

Playmaking ability:

Below average. On these accounts, LaVine is a project. He doesn’t seem to understand how to dissect defenses; he doesn’t handle the ball particularly well. In time, and with the right coaching this can be rectified.

 

Overall passing:

Average. He doesn’t turn the ball over very much, but he doesn’t do anything beyond the bare-minimum in regards to rotation, movement, and timing.

 

Outside shooting ability:

Very good, but streaky. Shot around 38% even after finishing off the season with a massive slump. Will need to work on mechanics to remain consistent at the professional level.

Ability to get own shot:

Exceptional. This will serve him well in the NBA. LaVine is not afraid to shoot, and because of that he’s developed a propensity to hit circus shots. Jamal Crawford has made a whole career off of it, so why can’t Zach?

Defense:

Once again, a project. What LaVine really needs to work on is his lateral movement and keeping his man in front of him. For someone with his length, he should average more steals. He has the physical tools to be aggressive on defense like Westbrook, but he just doesn’t flip that switch.

Basketball IQ and intangibles:

Sorely lacking. LaVine has very poor short selection, and his body seems to overcompensate at times. It seems like he’s always going a million miles a minute, but he’s not focused. He needs guidance on the court.

Projected draft position:

14-16

Projected position in the NBA:

PG/SG

Comparable NBA player:

A much less alpha Russell Westbrook.

 

– Evan Mielke (draft evaluation)

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom