Zach LaVine is a 6’6″ shooting guard who declared for the draft following a single season at UCLA. While most scouts consider him a work-in-progress that is likely several years away from contributing to a team at the NBA level, no one can deny the kid’s freakish athleticism.
The team over at CityLeagueHoopsTV recently posted some footage of LaVine going HAM during a draft workout in Los Angeles, and it’s flat-out awesome:
The action picks up with LaVine nearly braining himself on the rim while throwing down one of the smoothest windmill dunks I’ve ever seen. Draft Express lists his vertical at 41.5″ (33.5″ without taking a step), and he must have got every inch of it during that dunk.
His second dunk is equally impressive. He glides toward the hoop and makes a between-the-legs dunk look effortless. Remember 20 years ago when Isiah “J.R.” Rider dazzled the basketball world with a similar dunk and Charles Barkley called it “the best dunk [he'd] ever seen?”
My, how far we’ve come.
LaVine finishes the clip with a 360-dunk, which he somehow makes look pedestrian (“Ho-hum, don’t mind me, I’m just over hear DEFYING THE LAWS OF PHYSICS!!!”), followed by a one-armed jam where, once again, he nearly rams his forehead straight into the iron.
This kid reminds me a lot of Gerald Green – the lanky, journeyman shooting guard who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns — in that they both possess the type of athletic ability that makes them human highlight reels. But, like Green, it might take LaVine six to eight years to come into his own. So while most draft sites predict LaVine will be available to teams picking in the spots from 10 to 20, I think the Nuggets should focus on finding a player who is less of a project and likely to contribute sooner.
Regardless, I look forward to watching LaVine skywalk for years to come, regardless of whichever fan base gets to claim him as their own.
UPDATE: CityLeagueHoopsTV just posted more footage from LaVine’s workout, and in addition to including more breathtaking dunks, you also get a look at his jumper and ball-handling skills: