Very few people knew who Ivica Zubac was when he was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 32nd overall pick. It didn’t take long for many to become a fan, however, as he quickly revealed his longtime fandom of the franchise in his first interview.
The 19-year-old has plenty of potential as a massive seven-footer who is a talented offensive player around the basket. There was a question, however, of whether Zubac would come over to the NBA immediately or remain overseas.
That question has been answered as Zubac and the Lakers have reportedly agreed to a three-year contract, according to Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable SportsNet:
Ivica Zubac's contract with the Lakers will be a three-year deal, with two years guaranteed.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 5, 2016
Zubac getting two years guaranteed is a sign of the faith the Lakers have in the young Croatian. Even Jordan Clarkson’s first contract wasn’t fully guaranteed for two years, but Zubac will have plenty of time to develop under the Lakers’ watch.
The Lakers’ first signing in free agency was center Timofey Mozgov, who could serve as something of a mentor for Zubac in the same way Luol Deng can be a mentor for Brandon Ingram. Mozgov understands the transition of overseas basketball to the NBA and will undoubtedly help Zubac get his footing in the league.
One thing that is for certain is that the Lakers will be a young team. Zubac, Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle are all under the age of 21 while Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. are also in their early 20s.
At 7’1 and 265 pounds, Zubac certainly has the physical traits to make a difference. If he can learn how to effectively handle the backboards and protect the rim, both strengths of Mozgov, he could become a contributor quicker than expected.