Timberwolves shooting guard Zach LaVine joined the Vertical Podcast this week with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The third-year pro opened up about his life before basketball, his time at UCLA and what it's been like playing for new head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau.
LaVine recalled what it was like when the two first met
“He tried to kill me in that first workout. He wants to see where you’re at; he tests you,” Lavine said. “I hit about 16, 17 pull ups in a row and I’m thinking, I’m killing this workout. I know I’m ready and all he keeps saying is go harder.”
Thibodeau loves to watch film. During his time away from the NBA last season, he said he watched every single game he coached for the Bulls and all of LaVine's shots. Yep. All of them. Multiple times.
“He said I’ve seen every one of your shots, three times."
Although the wins haven't come for the Timberwolves this season – the team is just 6-16 – LaVine says he can see the improvements.
“I can already tell I feel so much more comfortable. I’ve always felt good on the the ball, being able to stay in front of people. But off the ball – I never really got taught it and that was the main thing – it’s helped a lot and were going to keep getting better at it.”
Wojnarowski also asked LaVine the difference between Thibodeau's style compared to Sam Mitchell and the late Flip Saunders.
“You’re going harder 100 percent of the time. If it’s a water break, you’re drinking that water fast and I feel it prepares you for the game. We’re really in condition; we just have to keep getting better at it and buy into that system. But the main thing was when were going hard, he’s on top of you, everything you did, he knew when you make a mistake.
In his third season in the NBA, LaVine's numbers have improved in nearly every category. Currently he's averaging over 20 points, while shooting over 46 percent from the floor.
The full podcast can be found below.