Ivica Zubac is a Croatian seven foot one center who some thought would have been drafted in the mid first round. Zubac missed the entire 2015 summer but came back later and he ended up averaging 15.8 points and 12.9 rebounds per game at the U18 European Championship. After missing all of October and parts of November he averaged 9.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 13 games for the Mega Leks and solidified himself as a top foreign big man for the 2016 draft.
In his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Zubac spoke glowingly about getting drafted as his whole family loved the Lakers. Zubac’s idol is Kobe Bryant and he hopes that he doesn’t choke up when he finally meets him.
Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick, was given Kobe Bryant’s old locker, but that doesn’t bother Ivica as he is fine not having the pressure of having Kobe’s old locker. For many players, not having as much pressure lets them develop correctly without feeling like they have to perform really well right away.
Zubac appears to want to prove to the Lakers and everyone else that he was the right choice for the Lakers, as to some he isn’t a household name like Brandon Ingram or D’Angelo Russell.
Ivica sounds like a hard worker and everything he has said points to a strong work ethic that will help him develop as a modern NBA center. His main skills include protecting the rim, shot blocking, and a variety of options for scoring around the rim. In Luke Walton’s offensive system, look out for Zubac to be in a lot of pick and rolls as he excelled in those throughout his young playing days.