The Los Angeles Lakers' first round pick, Brandon Ingram, was met with nearly universal shouts of "yay!" from the Lakers' fanbase. Their second round selection, Ivica Zubac, conversely drew countless yells of "who?"
Zubac himself attempted to answer that question in one of the more entertaining post-draft press conferences in team history, where the 7'1 center revealed he might literally be the world's biggest Lakers fan. As we dug deeper into his game, it became easy to see the raw tools the Lakers front office saw that led them to believe Zubac could be a real contributor down the line.
Zubac has a soft touch around the basket and even softer hands when catching passes out of the pick-and-roll, and while he's not a great rebounder yet, there is no reason to think he can't learn to more effectively position himself as he grows older and gains more experience.
As revealed by his slipping all the way to 32nd overall, the Lakers sound like they are even more high on Zubac's considerable upside than most, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
The Lakers also hope they added a true big man to that young crew Thursday in 7'0" Croatian center Ivica Zubac, 19. The team saw him as a lottery talent and pegged him to go in the top 20 before landing him at No. 32.
And if that wasn't enough to get you excited:
Kupchak even privately likened Zubac to Marc Gasol.
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The above might be a slight overreaction, but it's hard to argue the Lakers didn't get great potential value for their later pick. The team's front office that has shown a consistent ability over the last few years to snag above average contributors for their draft slots in the second round.
Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre may not be fan favorites any longer, but they have done more than most taken as late back as them, and Jordan Clarkson has obviously made all 29 other teams look dumb for passing on him (thanks again, Wizards. Enjoy that sweet, sweet, $1.8 million. Maybe you can use it to sign a capable backup for John Wall!). The Lakers additionally employ one of the most respected European scouts in the world.
For these reasons, the Zubac pick deserves a chance, because while it's unlikely he'll ever be as good as Gasol, he could still easily end up as a capable role player in the Lakers' rebuild. That's great value for the 32nd overall pick, and hopefully we get our first look at Zubac in uniform when the Lakers start Las Vegas Summer League on July 8th.
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