Athletically, LaVine is just as talented as any player in this draft and that includes Wiggins. In fact, LaVine has a chance to be one of the best athletes in the NBA. At 6’5, a nice wing-span, great vertical explosiveness, great north/south speed, and great lateral quickness, LaVine has all the tools to be a great player at the next level.
Right now, LaVine is a string-bean out there. That said, LaVine also grew two inches to 6’5 in the past year. Before his growth spurt, LaVine was simply an athletic freak at the point guard position. Now, LaVine has great height and some skills to play shooting guard. The only issue is that the first year or two will be an adjustment because LaVine will be unlikely to handle the rigors of the physicality at the NBA level.
While it is typical for Freshman to be raw and have to adjust to playing team ball at the college level, LaVine does shoes some concerns about overall basketball IQ. As one of the most talented players in college this year on a loaded team, LaVine had the chance to come off the bench and play an energy scorer role.
LaVine has many tools, but spent too much time shooting long two’s when he could drive to the basket or shoot the more efficient three ball. His decision making may in part be due to a lack of toughness and ability to absorb contact.
LaVine possess a nice skill-set. Like many young freak athletes, he plays at his best when out in transition and finishing. He has a nice three point shot that should extend out to NBA range, good handles, and a great first step. He also plays disruptive defense, garnering steals as well.
As noted above, LaVine needs to improve his court awareness and improve his shot selection and stop settling for long two point jumpers.
Unfortunately, on the defensive end, LaVine’s got plenty of work to do. While disruptive, he lacks the strength to fight through screens and or to hold up to a shooting guard with a post up game. He also shows poor anticipation about getting to the right spots. With his athleticism, defense can usually be coached up though.
LaVine is coming out very raw raw, passing on the chance to be the go-to-guy next year at UCLA. All the tools are there, but LaVine was too impatient to stay and play. Many times a player with all that talent, but not taking the time to develop those talents ends up either go through a journey to get back into the NBA or switching teams several times before finding their niche [see Gerald Green].
While I know Steve Alford runs a complicated motion offense and LaVine is more of an athletic slasher/shooter, I still wonder why he was in such a rush to declare? Will the workouts reveal that LaVine was not given the right tools to succeed, or will he take too much time to develop?
LaVine is the biggest boom/bust pick in this draft. While playing a very talented UCLA team that was extremely deep at the wing position, interviews and workouts might determine where he will go in the draft. Can LaVine put on muscle quickly? Is Lavine going to bust out of this league, be a Jamal Crawford, Gerald Green, or be a Russell Westbrook type player?
To me, LaVine would be best to go to a team that has multiple picks, has a system and veteran leadership in place, and possibly a place that is fast pace and that team screams the Suns to me. LaVine is also the type of player that can get G.M.s fired or a pay-raise.
Fit with Bulls
While the Bulls need talent and LaVine could be what we need at the shooting guard position, if we are committed to Coach Thibs, I really don’t see LaVine developing here despite how I feel on him as a prospect. Coach Thibs rightfully so wants to play players that will make the right basketball plays.
I feel at this time, LaVine would be too far back on the basketball depth chart to really contribute for a while if playing here and probably would have Coach Thibs pulling out what hair he has left. In most drafts, I would be thrilled with LaVine at pick 16 or 19, but this year I feel other players will contribute on this team more likely. I do think LaVine has a great chance to be really good, but I just think he is too raw and Thibs would likely not develop him as some other team might.