The only time fans of the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten to see Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac in uniform so far was at Las Vegas Summer League, but it’s not the only time the two have spent working on their games. According to head coach Luke Walton at an event christening the Lakers’ the new practice facility as the UCLA Health Center, Vegas was just the beginning of the offseason work the two have put in.
“They’ve been in the gym every day working,” Walton said of the players the Lakers selected with their two picks in the 2016 NBA Draft. While Walton isn’t willing to name him a starter yet, all of that time practicing has given him enough experience with Ingram to say that the skinny teenager “is adjusting to the physicality of the NBA game nicely.” It sounds like the Lakers’ second round pick has impressed Walton just as much, if not more.
“Big Z, he’s been spending a lot of time working with Bill Bertka, who we still have around, on the sky hooks,” said Walton. “He had a couple of sky hooks in the scrimmage yesterday that were really impressive, that I haven’t seen a big man shoot in a while. We’re absolutely thrilled with both of their development.”
But while Zubac has wowed his new head coach around the basket, Walton isn’t quite ready to give him the green light to go full stretch-five just yet.
“Obviously I’m a believer in letting players develop, and if he proves he can shoot threes then we’ll let him shoot threes,” Walton laughed, “But we’re not there right now. His mid-range jumper looks very good and he works every day on it. He’s got great touch, and he has a very bright future.”
If those two players continue to work like they have this summer and keep progressing at such a rapid pace, the Lakers have a bright future as well.
All quotes transcribed via Lakers Nation’s video. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.