Minnesota has a whole lot of lakes and quite a few Bruins. Chalk up one more in the Bruins category.
The Timberwolves selected UCLA product Zach LaVine with the 13th pick of the NBA draft on Thursday, and he joins Kevin Love, Luc Mbah a Moute and Shabazz Muhammad as the fourth former Bruin on the team.
UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford weighed in on the concentration of Bruins players up north:
“I think if you look at a lot of programs, that’s why I’m very blessed to be here at UCLA,” Alford said. “There’s a vast number of NBA teams that can say they’ve had a lot of Bruins. Of course, there’s just been a lot of Bruins that make it to the NBA, so obviously, we’ve had our share there with Minnesota, and the majority of the UCLA guys have a lot of success.”
Over the last couple months, LaVine went from finishing up his freshman year at UCLA to being a lottery draft pick.
According to an analysis published by Forbes, that No. 13 slot is worth a projected $9,647,298 over the next four years. That beats the projection for the picks in the late teens and early 20s -- where many pinpointed LaVine pre-draft -- by a total of more than $1 million.
That is not what I was projected to make in any professional capacity after my freshman year, in case anyone was wondering. It’s hard to imagine your life changing that much in such a short period of time, but maybe a fellow lottery winner would understand.
One-time lottery pick Kevin Love headlines Minnesota’s cast of Bruins, a community in which the young LaVine hopefully can find a home where he deals with his new professional status responsibly.
“You’ve got a Bruin there, obviously, in Love, so that’s somebody that can help him immediately,” Alford said.
At 19, LaVine has incredible upside but he does need time to develop his game and adjust to the NBA lifestyle. Love and his fellow Bruins could provide just the kind of mentoring that LaVine needs to stay on track, especially because Love also spent only one year at UCLA before diving into the draft.
“I know that would be a person that I would reach out [to] because he’s been at UCLA, he’s a West Coast guy, he knows kind of what the feel has been in college, staying one year in college and then going to the NBA and now being with Minnesota,” Alford said. “I think there’s a lot of things that he can share with Zach that’s going to help him.”
Whatever happens next in LaVine’s career, he can always say he won the lottery. And probably that he saw a lake or two.