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Musings from Las Vegas Summer League: The Concerns with Zach LaVine

The Minnesota Timberwolves have seen a small sample presenting reason for concern when it comes to assessing the future of Zach LaVine, thus far in the Las Vegas Summer League.


Hello, everyone.

The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't presented many reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Although the Las Vegas Summer League is a place for fringe-players, those on the cusp of making an NBA roster to find an open roster slot, it is also where fans witness the next uprising of superstars the latest draft-class perform for the first time amidst NBA-ish caliber competition. It's Summer League, henceforth there's always an abundance of speculation based on small sample sizes, so it's important to remain cautious when evaluating said prospects.

When assessing Zach LaVine's LVSL performances, a foreseeable concern blossoms only two exhibition games into his NBA career. Shouts to Seth Partnow, who illuminates legitimate concerns he sees in LaVine's game that may ultimately hinder his development. Partnow also discusses data-discharge and how executives apply advanced metrics recently made available from technology such as's SportVU.

From what I've seen, splitting backcourt duties with Alexey Shved isn't the ideal circumstance for LaVine to grow accustomed to playing without the ball. Subsequently, Shved and LaVine splitting duties running the point doesn't do either of them any good, if neither plays that role during the upcoming season. For example, the first play the Wolves coordinated here in Vegas called for an alley oop, Shved tossed the ball toward the hoop from the left-wing where it found LaVine, who was streaking down the lane, and the result was something beautiful. Alas, outside of this play, there's plenty of confusion and frustration happening when Shved and LaVine are on the floor at the same time.

GIF: Alexey Shved - Zach LaVine alley-oop on Twitpic


I spoke with Matt Janning -- a Watertown, Minnesota native -- on Sunday and asked him what it was like to play under coach Ryan Saunders. Saunders [28] is not much older than Janning [26], and these two didn't grow up too far away from one another on the outskirts of the suburbs 30-minutes West of Minneapolis. "He's trying to get a feel for things," Janning answered "[Ryan] knows what he's talking about and is engaged in the game. He's always communicating, telling guys where to go and what to do, and does an good job of reinforcing what our role is on both ends of the floor."

Saunders frequently called for mid-court meetings with LaVine and Shved, presenting a desire to communicate with players, but Ryan may have micromanaged to the point of stunting the Wolves ability to simply find a feel for the game.

You can find an article published at Hardwood Paroxysm that has more quotables from my chat with Janning, who is hoping to find a place on an NBA roster. If not, he'll spend next season playing in Turkey after an impressive year with Siena in Italy.