Los Angeles Lakers rookie Ivica Zubac may have been something of an unknown when his name was called on draft night, but the 32nd selection quickly became a fan-favorite after his stellar performance at the Las Vegas Summer League. Zubac offers a skill set that is rare these days, with a back-to-the-basket game combined with a developing mid-range shot, post passing skills, and rim protection.
Zubac’s is on-court play isn’t the only reason why the center from Croatia has been such a big hit. At just 19-years-old, he has an endearing naivete, yet is also comfortable in his own skin. He grew up as a huge fan of the Lakers, and a boyish smile that betrays his excitement lies just below the surface, waiting to bubble up.
There are other perks that come with being an NBA athlete aside from achieving a boyhood dream, like seeing oneself digitized into a famous video game series. With the latest edition of the NBA 2K series, NBA 2K17, coming soon, Zubac has been anxiously awaiting the release of character and rating. The wait is finally over, and Zubac himself revealed the results on Twitter:
— Ivica Zubac (@ivicazubac) September 1, 2016
For comparison, D’Angelo Russell was awarded a rating of 79, Larry Nance Jr. is a 75, and Jordan Clarkson is a 77. While Zubac’s rating is low currently, the great thing about modern video games is that they can be updated to reflect real-life developments. If Zubac can show the same skills that he flashed in Summer League during the regular season his numbers will improve, and as strange as it may sound, that is something that matters to some athletes.
2K rating aside, Zubac has been a breath of fresh air so far, and Lakers fans will certainly be pulling for the talented young big man.