Realistic Expectations for LA Lakers Rookie Ivica Zubac in 2016-17

July 24th, 2016 by David Murphy Leave a reply »

During the recently concluded Las Vegas Summer League, rookie big man Ivica Zubac surpassed all expectations.

The 19-year-old Croatian was the Los Angeles Lakers’ 32nd overall draft pick in June. However, he played like a borderline lottery selection this summer, averaging 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, starting every game and displaying a surprising comfort level and poise.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream—Zubac was the unfortunate recipient of a murderous dunk on his head, courtesy of Jerami Grant. Welcome to the NBA, tall teenager. 

Regardless of rites of passage that will live in online infamy forever, Zubac is a genuine draft steal. But he’ll have to do a lot more than excel in Las Vegas to earn a regular rotation spot under new Lakers coach Luke Walton.

After all, L.A. already has a traditional starting center in Timofey Mozgov, the hulking 7’1” Russian who signed a four-year, $64 million deal this summer. Walton can also use Larry Nance Jr. and Tarik Black as undersized 5s in small-ball lineups.

So where does that leave the 7&rsq ...

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