Injuries are an unfortunate reality of professional sports, and now they have robbed NBA fans of another rising young player for the remainder of the season. The Minnesota Timberwolves were the recipients of some bad news when they learned that springy guard Zach LaVine will miss the remainder of the NBA season with a torn ACL.
LaVine, a third-year guard from UCLA, had been in the midst of a stellar season that saw him putting up 18.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.6 threes per game in 37.2 minutes. The Timberwolves PR Twitter account announced the injury:
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) February 4, 2017
In the short-term, it appears that the Timberwolves will lean on veteran guard Brandon Rush to help fill the void at shooting guard but they will likely take a look at free agents as well. It’s a tough blow for a Timberwolves team that many thought would contend for a playoff spot this season, with LaVine being one of their brightest young talents along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Without LaVine, the Timberwolves will hope to find a way to improve on their disappointing record of 19 wins and 32 losses, but they will also keep an eye on their 2017 NBA Draft pick. With the sixth-worst record in the league currently, Minnesota has a 25.2 percent chance of landing a top-three selection and could be motivated to drop lower in the standings to increase their odds.
This could be problematic for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are three games “ahead” of the Timberwolves in the race to the bottom with a record of 17 wins and 36 losses. Unless Los Angeles’ selection lands in the top three it will be sent to the Philadelphia 76ers due to the Steve Nash trade.