Newly-signed Los Angeles Lakers big man Zach Auguste has his work cut out for him if he wants to make it onto the opening day roster. The Lakers already have a logjam in their front court, Auguste, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Timofey Mozgov, Tarik Black, Yi Jianlian, and Ivica Zubac all scrapping for their share of a total of 96 minutes of playing time between the power forward and center positions.
Fortunately, Auguste isn’t a stranger to hard work, playing four seasons at Notre Dame before making the jump to the NBA. His name wasn’t called in the 2016 NBA Draft, but Auguste linked up with the Lakers soon after, and an impressive performance at the Las Vegas Summer League earned him a two-year deal with the Los Angeles.
Auguste has quickly become popular with his Lakers teammates, forging a friendship with Nance as well as his college rival, Brandon Ingram. While Auguste’s Notre Dame got the better of Ingram’s Duke team twice last year, and despite Ingram’s hype this summer compared to Auguste’s under-the-radar path to the NBA, the two have become fast friends (via Tommy Cassell of telegram.com):
“We put the rivalry aside for now. (Notre Dame is) probably going to beat Duke again this year. We give each other some crap, but we’re close, and (Ingram’s) my little brother right now.”
Auguste grew up a fan of the Boston Celtics, who are the long-time rival of the Lakers, which has made his transition to Los Angeles a little awkward. Still, Auguste is grateful for the opportunity and is one of many players who has spoken highly of new Lakers coach Luke Walton.
Auguste is a bit undersized to play center in the NBA, but he makes up for it with energy and work ethic, two traits that coaches love, and he can be a positive presence in the locker room. It won’t be easy for him to crack the rotation, but he isn’t the type of player to bet against, either.