Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant GM Rob Babcock Compares Zach LaVine to Russell Westbrook
Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant General Manager Rob Babcock joined Jeff Thurn on Tuesday’s edition of Overtime on ESPN 99.1.
Why was Zach LaVine the right fit at No. 13 in the 2014 NBA Draft last week?
"One, we really wanted to address athletic ability. He was one of the top athletes in the draft. We were looking for somebody that his type of player is a combo guard. He doesn't have much experience at the point, but we think down the road he may be able to play some at the point. But really addressing the athleticism. He's a young kid that has tremendous upside and we thought that his upside far outweighs his youth and inexperience."
Thurn asks Babcock who he would compare LaVine to in the NBA?
"I am always reluctant to comparisons because it's generally not fair to either person, but he has the type of explosiveness up the floor where he can take the ball of the board or get an outlet pass and just explode to the other end a lot like Russell Westbrook does. And he can get to the basket like Westbrook does with explosiveness. I'm not putting them in that category of a player at all, but he has that type of acceleration and ability to run the court. It's almost like he's flying; kind of like Westbrook does. He has a much lighter body, and is taller than Westbrook. He has great shooting potential with great range. So, his upside is very, very good. He handles the ball well. He just has to get experience and learn a lot."
LaVine is 6’6″, and 181 pounds. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists last year for the Bruins. Listen to Thurn's interview with ESPN's Dan Dakich to hear what he said about the Timberwolves selection at No. 13. Minnesota also took Michigan's Glen Robinson III in the second round.
How excited is the Timberwolves organization to have Flip Saunders back as head coach?
"Very excited. For someone like me especially, who was with Flip in the first round back in the 90's. we know what he is capable of doing. We know him. We have great confidence in him, and so having him opposed to the unknown of someone we've never worked with is, there's a great comfort level and confidence."
How has the Timberwolves front office handled the Kevin Love trade rumors?
"It really doesn't bother me much because I'm not the GM. So, when you're not making the final decisions, it's a little easier to go to sleep at night. For Flip, I'm sure it's been a lot more stressful, but he's handled it well and the reason is because he is completely comfortable with the option if Love with us next year. He has no issues with that. He has a great relationship with Kevin. He knows that Kevin is a competitor and no whatever happens, Kevin is going to give an effort to win the game. He has complete confidence and that makes it a whole lot easier and it makes it sure there's no way Flip is going to rush into a decision and do a deal just to do a deal."
Babcock also did not shy away from the possibility of Love being with the team past next season. He said anything is a possibility.
To hear more of Babcock’s interview with Thurn, listen below:
Catch Thurn daily on ESPN 99.1 in Sioux Falls from 3 to 6 p.m.
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