When it comes to the NBA draft, every player picked after the lottery selection usually turns out to be nothing special. Even a lot of the lottery selections don't turn out to what the GM drafting them expected they'd be. With that being said, there's obviously a handful of players that are drafted from pick 15 on that turn out to be solid players in the NBA. Ivica Zubac is one of the guys that is slowly but surely becoming one of those players from that handful. Zubac was the last selection in the 2016 draft, now the Lakers a starting to make a habit of drafting guys in the second round that turn out to be studs. For example, Jordan Clarkson, he was a second round selection, and he ended up making all-rookie first team his rookie season. Mitch Kupchak is the one to thank for these brilliant draft picks.
Zubac has flown under the radar all year, as he should since he's been mostly in the d-league, and is yet to get consistent minutes in the Lakers rotation. Whenever he does get minutes, Zubac makes the most of them. Over his last 11 games (Not including tonight's game against the Knicks) Zubac has averaged 7.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1 BPG in just 15 minutes per game. Talk about making the most of very limited playing time. Shooting 54% from the field and 81% from the free throw line he's proven he's not a liability like most big men from the free throw line, and that he can score efficiently. In games he's played over 20 minutes, Zubac has averaged 14 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 1.5 BPG, this kid is proving he could be a viable starting big man for the Lakers. The fact we're paying Timofey Mozgov an unreal amount of money to be our center makes it harder to make that transition, but with the Lakers clearly out of the playoff picture I believe it's time to make the switch. Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick in the 2016 draft has played every game for the Lakers this season, and has not shown nearly as much promise as this kid in such a short amount of time. In 17 minutes played tonight, Zubac had 10 points, 7 boards, and 4 blocks, he's clearly making a huge impact in very limited minutes, so why not give him more playing time. I'm sure the Lakers have a reason for taking it slow with this 19 year old kid, but as long as he keeps developing at the rate he is the Lakers will have a very good center for the future. The fact we got him the last pick in this year's draft just makes it that much sweeter. Ivica Zubac the steal of the 2016 draft, you heard it here first folks.