Thanks to a number of unexpected picks in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers had a number of intriguing options to choose from when they got on the clock with the 32nd overall pick.
Ultimately the Los Angeles Lakers decided to take Croatian center Ivica Zubac with that pick, a somewhat surprising selection as he was unknown to casual fans. Zubac, however, was considered a first-round prospect and many were surprised that he fell into the second.
For Zubac, being selected to the Lakers was a dream come true as he revealed he is a lifelong Lakers fan who even cried during Kobe Bryant’s final game according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Zubac could not be more excited – he’s been a HUGE Lakers fan for his entire life, told me he cried like a baby when Kobe scored 60.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 24, 2016
There were some thoughts that Zubac might be a draft-and-stash candidate as he didn’t get much playing time last year in the Adriatic League, and is only 19 years old. Zubac, however, wants to come over immediately and expects to make the roster next year according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Ivica Zubac said he expects to play for the Lakers next season (as in, he’s not going to be a draft & stash guy).
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) June 24, 2016
While he may be unknown to most, Zubac has a lot of potential. At 7’1 and 265 pounds he has the size and strength to play center in the league and is very solid offensively with a number of moves and ways to score around the basket.
With the Lakers taking Brandon Ingram second overall and adding Zubac at 32, the team has added two more very young, but talented players with a lot of potential. The Lakers seem to be trending upwards as this summer goes on.