Zach LaVine is getting to know Minnesota closer than any non-athlete ever could. Although, in some ways, he's just a regular person similar to the rest of us. Today, LaVine did a number of things around town.
It seems as though the Minnesota Timberwolves are taking the 'we're going to hype this group up as much as we possibly can' approach, which is fine, but it's important to remember these guys haven't played a game together yet.
Flip Saunders has truly put all the chips on the table out there with this newly acquired core. An intense amount of hype is turning, or will turn into grand expectations. This also means there will be immense feelings of disappointment if things don't come to fruition the way they were expected to. With Andrew Wiggins, LaVine, both rookies, in addition to Anthony Bennett the potential for a bright future is there. Just remember to keep a level head with immediate, knee-jerk judgements watching them grow throughout next season.
Oh, before I get going, read Key's piece on Anthony Bennett if you haven't already. Click this link.
LaVine started his day at practice with the Minnesota Vikings.
It was there he met with General Manager Rick Spielman, who told LaVine "You guys (the Timberwolves) are going to be exciting to watch." You're right, Rick, they will be (we think).
LaVine also showed off the renowned leaping ability many have obsessed over since he was selected in the draft. It's not a secret. The dude can jump high.
Note: The NFL does not allow its players to spike the ball over the goalpost anymore. Why did they make this a rule? I'm not sure.
After his time was done at Vikings practice, the Timberwolves PR department announced LaVine will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Minnesota Twins game against the Los Angeles Angels. Tomorrow's game will be televised on Fox Sports North. The ceremonial first pitch is usually thrown out sometime around 7:00 PM for games that begin at 7:10.
According to Zach LaVine dot com, his mother was a softball player (a good one) that grew up competing with two brothers. LaVine states baseball was 'his sport' before seeing the movie Space Jam, which subsequently fixated his attention on Michael Jordan and a career playing basketball. Will LaVine bring the heat on the mound, or simply try to keep it in the zone and not embarrass himself? My guess is probably somewhere in between.
About to have my first Juicy Lucy at Matt's Bar. A true Minnesota experience.— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) September 4, 2014
As any Minnesota native knows, Matt's Bar is the true home of the famous Jucy Lucy-- a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty in addition to on top. Yes, I'm throwin' shade at you, 5-8 Club.
So he likes Minnesota, right? RIGHT? It would appear that way.
Those who enjoy hating on the Minnesota -- or anyone that thinks the Twin Cities, for a multitude of reasons, isn't a place where the best professional athletes are willing to stay for a majority of their careers -- will always be quick to point out LaVine's reaction after he was selected by the Timberwolves. He insists it was a moment of relief. Many, including myself, are inclined to believe him, but LaVine's publicist and Timberwolves' PR seem to be ensuring anyone paying attention that this is a player that wants to be here.
For LaVine, and any of the Wolves newcomers, it will just be a matter of going out and performing well on the court. That's what will ultimately make fans the happiest. We live here. We know it isn't unbearable, but athletes have flexibility to move elsewhere. Show the people you like it here. Show them you can win. Stay here. That's all they ask.