Timberwolves Fans: How Do We Go On Without LaVine?
On Saturday, it was announced that Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Now, how does the team move on this season without him?
When I saw the notification pop-up on my phone that Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine had torn his ACL I went into multiple stages of grief.
First, I punched a hole in a wall. Then, I cried myself to sleep.
Not really, but…I wasn’t happy. Here’s what happened on Friday night…
This had been a great season for LaVine. The third-year guard averaged 18.9 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting. And, until a couple weeks ago, he was averaging over 20 points per game. In my opinion, he was the clear choice for Most Improved Player, come awards season.
Since coming into the league in 2014, LaVine has always been one of the most entertaining players in the league. Even when games are going south, you can always count on Zach to put down a crazy dunk. And really, that’s what I am most upset about: no more LaVine highlights for the rest of the season.
So now, Timberwolves fans, what do we do? How do we go on without LaVine?
The answer? Pretend it never happened, and instead focus on Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns.
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This will still be a fun season. Wiggins and KAT can still produce on offense without LaVine. And, it certainly looks like they’ll be taking on his scoring load for the rest of the season. Really, it means that, oh bummer, Towns and Wiggins are going to have to average 26 points per game apiece.
Another upside is that Shabazz Muhammad has been growing as a player in the last month or so. While Brandon Rush will be starting in LaVine’s place, Muhammad will be seeing more minutes, and Bazz has been producing points on offense lately and should continue to do the same in LaVine’s absence.
LaVine had to sit out a few games earlier this season due to injury and Rush started in his place. In the first three of such games, the Timberwolves won. Some folks started talking about starting Rush over LaVine after that, but obviously that wasn’t about to happen.
After all, the game of basketball is about putting points on the board (don’t come at me with your PER or some weird percentage or analytic — basketball is about scoring points not doing math), and Brandon Rush is only scoring 3.2 points per game.
Even though Rush doesn’t score near as well as LaVine, he won’t be much of a set-back in terms of production. Wiggins, Towns, and Bazz will take on most of the scoring load missing from LaVine, while Rush will provide experience as a veteran.
I still believe that the Wolves can (and will) make the playoffs. Losing LaVine just makes it more difficult. But this is no doubt a tough bump in the road for the Wolves.
This is also a major roadblock in LaVine’s career. His determination and will to win is going to be tested everyday in his recovery. His drive will be tested. And, let’s be honest, Minnesota isn’t the place every young player wants to be. Now, he’s in Minnesota and not even playing.
Timberwolves fans need to believe that LaVine will recover and come back good as new. As of now, the playoff hunt is still going strong. Keep your collective chins up.