Earlier Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that they had assigned rookie Josh Hart and second-year center Ivica Zubac to the South Bay Lakers of the G-League, while also recalling rookie center Thomas Bryant.
When looking at the current Lakers rotation, the move makes sense. Hart recently was replaced by Vander Blue in the second unit, while Zubac has only appeared in two games this season, picking up minimal garbage time minutes.
Following practice, Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke about the decision, saying he wants the two young players to stay sharp since they haven’t been seeing minutes recently via Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet:
With the schedule lining up the way I️t is Luke wants Zubac and Hart getting reps with the SB Lakers to stay sharp… they will be needed down the road
— Chris Geeter McGee (@geeter3) November 14, 2017
The Lakers have been great at using the G-League to keep players focused and continue developing previously. Jordan Clarkson spent the first half of his rookie season with the then-Los Angeles D-Fenders which helped prepare him for when his name was called. Zubac himself was a beneficiary of this just last season as well.
This could serve to help Zubac get his confidence back and show off the hard work he has been putting in. After a disappointing Summer League and preseason, Zubac has found himself on the end of the bench and there are questions as to whether he can fit in with the style of play the Lakers want to run.
Hart’s defense looked as advertised when he got his chance to play with the Lakers’ second unit. Unfortunately his jumper soon failed him as he shot a combined 0-12 in his last five games. Hopefully getting some consistent minutes and developmental time will help both players improve and be ready to contribute when Walton calls on them later this season.
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