The Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to rebuild their once-mighty franchise around a core of young, potential-laden players. With D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle all showing flashes of brilliance, there is hope for a bright future in Los Angeles.
Head coach Luke Walton has fed plenty of minutes to most of his youngsters, knowing that the growing pains they experience now will pay off in the long run. However, rookie center Ivica Zubac has been somewhat left out, appearing in just eight games for a total of 69 minutes. Despite Zubac’s low minutes, Walton still believes the young Croatian will have a big role in the team’s future (via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times):
“We all think he is going to be a big part of our franchise in the future,” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. “He’s got a unique skill set, he’s a big that has great touch. He’s got good timing on the floor. He’s obviously got a lot to learn at the age of 19 living and playing in a different country, but we’re all fascinated with what he can be.”
Zubac has had multiple stints with the D-Fenders in the D-League in order to get minutes and work on his skills. At just 19 years old he has plenty of time to develop, and his skill set truly is intriguing. At 7’1″ and 265 pounds, Zubac has the size and length to be a true shot-blocking threat at the rim, but he also has a soft touch around the basket and has shown some ability to step out and shoot the corner three.
Add that to solid passing skill for a player his size, and one can see why Zubac has been frequently called a young Marc Gasol. On Thursday night the Lakers were blown out by the San Antonio Spurs, and Zubac took advantage of a rare opportunity to play by putting up eight points, four rebounds, 2 steals, and one block in just 15 minutes of action.
It may take some time for Zubac to develop, but it appears that he will be worth the wait.