The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into the 2018-19 NBA season without a legitimate starting center on their roster. The Laker may have JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner to play in the middle, but none of those big men look ready for the starting role. McGee has spent the most of his NBA career coming off the bench, while Wagner is yet to play a single game in the NBA.
Meanwhile, after a promising rookie season, Ivica Zubac has been a huge disappointment in his sophomore year. In 43 games he played last season, the 21-year-old Croatian center only averaged 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field. Zubac’s poor performance could also be blamed for his lack of playing time since the Lakers had a logjam at their frontcourt last season.
In his exit interview in April, Ivica Zubac took all the blame for all his struggles and vowed not to make the same mistake this summer. Zubac has managed to show a huge improvement in his physique as he has reportedly lost 20 pounds. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revealed last month that he heard a “very positive word” on Zubac and his offseason.
Unlike last season where the Lakers have Brook Lopez and Julius Randle on their roster, Ivica Zubac will only need to compete for playing time against JaVale McGee and Moritz Wagner. Most people expect the Lakers to use McGee as their starting center. However, according to SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll, Zubac could end up stealing the role from McGee if he manages to leave a good impression in the upcoming training camp.
“Will he close games regularly? Probably not, especially if Walton is going to experiment with LeBron James at center, but it makes them a deeper team at the position they’re arguably the weakest. He’ll have some competition for the starting job with McGee and rookie big man Moritz Wagner, who the Lakers took with their lone first-round pick in this year’s draft, but Zubac has put himself in the best possible position to succeed and fill what looks like it might be a Grand Canyon sized hole at center for the Lakers.”
I have written nearly 2,000 words on Ivica Zubac this summer. Here are roughly 800 more on his impressive offseason.https://t.co/Pw1oFWHdo2
— Christian Rivas (@RadRivas) September 10, 2018
Ivica Zubac’s improvements this offseason will be vital for the Lakers, especially now that they are in dire need of a legitimate starting center on their roster. His performance in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season will prove if the Lakers made the right decision to pass on the opportunity to acquire DeMarcus Cousins and re-sign Brook Lopez in the recent free agency.