The Los Angeles Lakers’ season was all but ended Monday night when the L.A. Clippers took care of them, 113-105. Ivica Zubac, who was traded from the Lakers to the Clippers at the deadline, played just 13 minutes, but head coach Doc Rivers was very complimentary of what he’s done.
Zubac, who was a fan favorite with the Lakers, was playing the best basketball of his career and was the team’s only effective true center before getting traded. Now, in 10 games with the Clippers, Zubac is averaging 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in a mere 19.1 minutes per game.
“Love him. Love his size, love his ability to roll and catch, a better finisher than I thought, better passer than I thought,” Rivers said.
“He’s young, and you see that a lot, too. Like he has things he has to learn. We’ve been hard on him, we keep telling him age is not an excuse. We tell him that every day. We’re going to use playing hard, being focused and getting better. He’s going to be much better in a year or two than he is now, but he’s good now.”
Anyone who’s watched Zubac play this season knows the potential he has and the talent he already possesses, making the Lakers’ decision to trade him all the more baffling.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka cited that acquiring Mike Muscala as an option to spread the floor was a primary reason behind the trade. But Muscala’s struggles with the Lakers has only amplified the criticism.
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