This draft was very weird. Players fell, teams reached, and patient teams got steals. Ivica Zubac was one of those steals. He was first round talent that fell to the second round. Having him at 26 on my board with some draft experts having him as high as 16, the intrigue is definitely there and it is by no means a reach. Diallo and Onuaku were 2 other players that made sense for the Lakers, but Mitch trusted his international scouting department and rolled on Zubac. The Lakers have some of the best international scouts (h/t to Ben Rosales of Silver Screen and Roll). That should help ease some of the shock that the Lakers have taken a international player. Mitch has had a great track record recently of taking steals in the later rounds. Having a need at center, the Lakers took a high upside center that has physical tools to be at least a serviceable big.
High praise for Ivica Zubac
The support for this selection from analysts has been a good sign. Sam Vecenie of CBS put it best in his draft grades article:
“Upside pick here for the Lakers as a center, which is a position of need for the team. Zubac is massive at 7-0 with long arms and terrific touch around the basket. In the second round, there’s not much more you can ask for than drafting for need and getting a potentially valuable player.”
Not to mention what Johnathan Tjarks had to say on Zubac on Twitter:
I really like Zubac. He might be the most talented C in this year's draft.
— Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks) June 24, 2016
And what he said on “The Ringer NBA Show” where he talked about some of the interesting international players in this draft.
“I think he reminds me a lot of a kinda younger version of AJ Hammons. He is really really big. I feel with a guy this big, there is a bit of a scale, like he isn’t a great athlete but as you were saying for a guy that is a freaking mastodon, he moves pretty well. He is pretty good on offense too and when you are that freaking huge then it is going to be hard to stop at that size, rolling to the rim or posting up. He has a pretty good feel, to me he could be the best center, if though you’re saying ‘I am going to deal with the fact that he is not going to switch screens.'”
I’ll get more in depth with Zubac in the next few days, but get excited, Lakers fans. We had an incredible draft.