It is not breaking news that the Los Angeles Lakers have added two new pieces to their young core this summer, but Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac managed to impress their teammates during Las Vegas Summer League. One guy who has been vocal about how impressive the rookies have been thus far is Larry Nance Jr., who also managed to surprised the likes of many around the league after being selected with the No. 27 overall pick in 2015.
Nance Jr. is close to making a complete recovery from his wrist injury that he suffered in Summer League, and he recently raved about the Ingram and Zubac in a podcast with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
“I didn’t get to see much college basketball last year, but obviously Brandon is a terrific talent. He can do it in so many different ways whether it be shooting or driving. He’s just so versatile with his wingspan and the way he can move and stuff like that. And also, the knock on him is that he’s so skinny and he’s so frail and stuff like that, but I think people are going to be impressed. He’s not a baby. He’s stronger than he looks. I think he’s going to be really impressive, whether it’s this year or next year or two years down the line.”
Zubac was a little more unknown and did not get the opportunity to impress his teammates in practice due to a contract issue, but after Nance Jr. got a good look at him in Summer League action he was sold on his talent as well:
“I had never heard of him before we picked him, but he’s really good. In Summer League, he had to be one of the most efficient players there. He was efficient, he was a shot blocker, he was physical. He’s a joy to play with ’cause he’s got your back. If you get beat, you know he’s gonna be there to contest the shot. I look forward to learning and growing with him. If I got to play with him in the second unit, that would be a pretty good defensive rotation right there.”
It remains to be seen if Nance Jr. will be joined by Zubac in the second unit, as he will compete with Tarik Black for minutes in what is a pretty crowded Lakers frontcourt.
The rookies have looked great thus far, but their development will not happen overnight as Nance Jr. points out. It may take a couple years for both Ingram and Zubac to develop into impact players, but they have shown flashes of potential and their teammates and coaching staff have taken notice.