This season, Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine had definitively become more than a dunker.
The two-time dunk contest champion was averaging career highs in points per game (18.9), shooting percentage (45.9) and rebounds per game (3.4) and was one of few bright spots on a disappoint Minnesota team.
Then on Friday he fell to the court holding his knee, and now he’s out for the season with a torn ACL.
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) February 4, 2017
This is a blow for LaVine, who last week said he wouldn’t compete in this year’s dunk contest to rest and focus on the season. After getting everything together in his third pro season and looking like a budding star, he’ll now spend much of the next year rehabbing.
It’s also a blow for us as fans. LaVine is one of the most exciting players in the NBA, and you never know when he’s going to unleash an awe-inspiring dunk. He has (with help from Aaron Gordon) made the last two dunk contests as watchable as they’ve ever been. We’ll miss him.
For the Timberwolves, however, LaVine’s injury could be some sort of blessing in disguise. Minnesota has no chance of making the playoffs this year but a serious chance at another top-5 pick. Tanking was already the Wolves’ best course of action, and LaVine’s injury should make that a little better.
Of course, for his sake, the team’s sake and our sake, we hope he makes a full recovery in time to dunk all over the league next year.