The Los Angeles Lakers acted quickly after the 2016 NBA Draft, snatching up undrafted Notre Dame big man Zach Auguste and signing him on to their team for the Las Vegas Summer League. Auguste impressed in July, where he used a combination of athleticism and hustle to impress teammates, coaches, and fans alike.
His play earned him a two-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers. It won’t be easy to make the final roster, with the likes of Tarik Black, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Timofey Mozgov, and Ivica Zubac all competing for minutes in the post. However, Auguste believes that he has the skills required to be the versatile player that coach Luke Walton craves as he told LakersNation.com during Media Day.
“I’ve been working on my outside game, my inside game, touches, finishes, really just my all-around game,” Auguste told LakersNation.com. “I want to be able to stretch the floor as much as possible and be able to be versatile. I’m already shooting threes now, it’s not a big deal, just need to get more consistent at it. I’m definitely a four. I’m a mobile four who can stretch the floor out and run in transition. I can grab rebounds and push it myself and start the offense.”
Auguste’s assertion that he can hit threes is surprising given the fact that he only attempted one in his entire college career, although players do occasionally display skills in the pros that they weren’t able to utilize at the collegiate level. Similarly, the revelation that he is comfortable pushing the ball in transition is interesting, and certainly, something that he will have the opportunity to prove in training camp.
Of course, the fact that Auguste is wearing a Lakers jersey is ironic given the fact that he grew up a Celtics fan, but he has no complaints.
“It’s a blessing, man. I was excited, it’s always been a dream of mine to put on an NBA jersey, doesn’t matter which one it was. It’s a little bit ironic because I come from a rival like Boston, but it’s a blessing, and I enjoy putting the purple and gold on.”
Auguste has his work cut out for him in training camp, but if his skill set is as diverse as he says it is then the Lakers may well have found yet another undervalued asset to add to their roster.