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Zach LaVine says he’s a ‘bucket-getter,’ believes his scoring ability is NBA ready

Jun 26, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT

UCLA v Arizona Getty Images

NEW YORK – Zach LaVine has been raising eyebrows in the weeks leading up to Thursday night’s NBA Draft with the incredible leaping displays he’s been putting on while attending individual team workouts. But he feels he has a lot more to offer at the professional level than simply sheer athleticism.

Speaking at the pre-draft media availability in Manhattan on Wednesday, LaVine says that his ability to score the basketball is his most NBA-ready skill.

“I feel like I can get my shot off against anybody,” LaVine told NBCSports.com. “I’m really good from midrange, and I just feel like my game adjusts to the NBA really well. It’s a lot of one-on-one play. If you can go get your shot off and you can make shots — I feel like I’m a bucket-getter.

“If a team needs me to score, I can do that, but if they want me to play the one, I have a good feel for the ball and can be one of their playmakers as well. But also my athleticism, so I know that translates.”

That athleticism makes LaVine feel like he can score by posting up defenders as well, despite a 6’5″, 180-pound frame that many believe will need to increase in bulk for him to succeed at the professional level.

“I feel like I have a really good feel for [playing with my back to the basket],” LaVine said. “I may not be the biggest dude, but against smaller guards, I feel like I can post them up. I feel like I’ve got pretty good footwork. I watch a lot of Kobe and Michael Jordan, and I know I’m not nearly on their level, but I’ve got a little feel for it. My turnaround, I can just jump over people. I can just jump over somebody, so I feel semi-comfortable.”

One thing he doesn’t need to improve upon his is shooting ability from long distances. His proven extended range is one thing scouts agree upon, and it’s an area where LaVine is extremely confident.

“That’s easy,” he said, when asked how he feels about shooting the ball from NBA three-point distance. “That’s the one thing I don’t have to worry about. I’ve been known as someone who has a lot of range on my jumpshot. NBA three-point line is something I definitely don’t have to work on. It’s easy.”

LaVine expects to hear his name called with a pick anywhere from the middle of the lottery to just outside of it. An earlier pick means more guaranteed dollars initially, while a later one could mean going to a better team more ready to win in the immediate future.

LaVine will be happy wherever he’s selected, but is hoping for the best combination of the two possibilities.

“It’s all about situations,” he said. “Some people get lucky, some people got to work through it in their rookie year. Hopefully I’m fortunate enough to go in the correct slot, and the correct spot.”

  1. money2long - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Gotta love the confidence.

  2. willardj - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Too much arrogance for a guy who came off the bench in college. He has a lot to work on if he ever wants to get good.

  3. kb2408 - Jun 26, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    He’s going to be a steal for whoever gets him. UCLA guards have a tendency of being better in the pros than in college (see: Westbrook, Collison, etc.).

  4. saint1997 - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    This is a case in point double standard from NBA fans. This is the same guy who possible in 8 years will be saying ‘I want teams to fight for me’ and everyone here will be commenting ‘why do these players have to be so arrogant?’. The reason starts now – when people foster egos like the one this kid obviously has and says to them ‘you need to be arrogant to succeed in the NBA’. That’s total garbage – Tim Duncan is one of the best and the man hasn’t a shred of ego. It’s a culture of narcissism in the NBA that causes this prevalence

  5. alfiemonstaa - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Isn’t it your agents job to hype you up kid?!?!

    YOURE DOING IT ALL WRONG!!!

  6. ravenswhat - Jun 26, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    You won’t even hear about this guy again within 5 years. Guaranteed.

  7. monkeyhateclean - Jun 26, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    This guy should start believing in his ability to upsell large french fries.

    Because that’s how he’ll be spending 99% of his life….hoping to convince fast-food customers to buy the larger size fries.

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