Sam Mitchell: Zach LaVine is ‘playing tentative’

LaVine is still learning during year two.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Zach LaVine may already be the Timberwolves' starting shooting guard, but he's still learning on the job. 

LaVine entered the Wolves' starting lineup for the first time just last week, displacing last season's starter, Kevin Martin, who headed to the bench. Now, LaVine has to improve on what might be his biggest flaw: decision making.

Lavine must know that, because he hasn't been his usual self since moving into the starting lineup. The kid who can usually jump over any player who's on the court (actually, not usually, just always) hasn't been moving like his free-flowing self. And interim coach Sam Mitchell has noticed.

Here's more from Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:

It's only been a short period of time, and, of course, it's the preseason, so this isn't exactly cause for alarm. Minnesota won just 16 games last year, partly because of injuries and partly because the team was just so darn young. This year, the youth aspect doesn't change. The Wolves are going to have to go out of their ways to play the young guys like LaVine along with Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones and the rest of the crew. 

(h/t NBC Sports for the find)

Zach LaVine is 3-for-19 from the field in his first two games since Mitchell named him the starter and shooting guard of the future. He was 1-for-8 Saturday, making his last shot late in the game. LaVine played nearly 28 minutes. Kevin Martin played 12 off the bench.

“Zach right now is playing very tentative,” Mitchell said. “We knew we were going to have to be patient. He’s probably thinking too much, and that’s probably natural for young guys. We have to get him to play more and stop thinking so much.”

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