Ivica Zubac has become a fan favorite for the Lakers before even stepping foot on the court at Staples Center. The second round draft pick has won fans over with his dry humor, his Laker fandom, and, of course, his surprising skill level.
Despite how well Zubac played in Summer League, he has a long way to go to become a truly serviceable player. Luckily, the new Laker is ready to go to work. He spoke with Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable Sportsnet on training camp and adjusting to the NBA:
On training camp:
I never been at training camp so I don’t know what to expect. But I expect a lot of hard work and a lot of competitive practices and to get better.
On adjusting to the NBA:
I’ve been here since Summer League and working out every day so I’m ready. I’m in shape. I learned a lot of things. I’m working on my game and a lot of things I have to improve because it’s different in Europe and I have to adjust. But it’s getting better every day.
On differences between European basketball and NBA:
The speed was slower a bit in Italy and the spacing was, here the spacing is way better. That’s been hard for me to learn about spacing but I think I learned it almost enough.
On goals in pre-season:
Number one priority is defense. Definitely I want to help the team so when I get minutes so I can help. The most important thing is to bring out the energy and help out on defense. If I can do that, I’m going to be good. On offense, I have to take what defense gives me and what teams give me. I shouldn’t complicate it a lot and I think I’m going to be good if I do that.
Zubac’s interview proves what has been a common thought for a while: the Lakers will be bringing along the big man slowly. Zubac doesn’t sound like he’s expecting a lot of minutes at least to start out the season.
Zubac also seems to have been given instructions on what to work on. This was an issue that the last coaching staff never resolved. It’s good to see that a young, raw player will have a sense of direction.