It is not yet Christmas, conference play has not started and we are a long way from March Madness, yet that has not stopped certain folks from speculating what youngsters will make the leap to the NBA after this season. Even us. Still, it is something to keep fresh in your mind, especially after Bleacher Report have listed UCLA freshman, Zach LaVine, the #1 shooting guard prospect for next summer’s NBA Draft. And why not, the kid is a superstar in the making and this is what he does.
LaVine Brings Fire Off The Bench
When 6’5”, 180 lbs. LaVine comes off the bench, he goes right to work. He is second on the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) behind Jordan Adams, which is getting him some attention. The majority of those points with above-the-rim dunks is getting him maximum exposure. Example…
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) December 7, 2013
One might simply notice the get up on LaVine’s dunk, but if you look carefully, he is a pretty decent shooter, too. Aside from a sweet mid-range jumper (58.9% field goal shooting), LaVine can get it done from behind the arc as he has made 20 of 43 3-pointers (46.5%) on the year. And they are very pretty shots, so pretty.
It is also apparent that LaVine wants what is best for the name on the front of his jersey rather than exploiting the name on the back. Early in the season, it looked as if he was hesitant to display his skills. He often looked for the likes of Adams or Kyle Anderson to make something happen. Even though he has since built confidence in himself to be a fierce offensive threat, he is unselfish and always looks for his teammates.
Another way LaVine has garnered so much attention is due to his teamwork, especially when he first enters the game with another freshman, Bryce Alford. When these two get into the game, like clockwork, they get the Bruins started on big runs. Having someone to feed LaVine the ball has been nothing less than fantastic. Not that it is implied that LaVine needs help to be successful, but rather, LaVine being successful is because he works to help out his team. What else could an NBA team want?
So What Does That Mean To Pro Scouts?
Well, the fact that pro scouts are already taking notice, means that LaVine is something special. He has showed that he can make the jump from high school to college rather smoothly. The jump from college to the pros should not be difficult either. We are not saying he is going to have Russell Westbrook type numbers in his first year, but he will be very valuable to whatever team gets his hands on him and you better believe that several teams are looking to do that
Several mock draft sites have LaVine not just being drafted, but a first-rounder. NBADraft.net has LaVine being taken as high as the number five selection. MyNBADraft.com and Zach Harper of CBSSports.com both have the young Bruin getting picked 15th. Wow.
This is real, folks and it is not going to go away. Hopefully, LaVine sees the benefit in staying another year or two, but the attention is already being drawn and NBA scouts are flocking to see this kid. This could be a one-and-done situation with LaVine and if it does, good for him. If it is not, good for UCLA. Win-win situation.