Rookie Ivica Zubac is already a fan favorite amongst the Los Angeles Lakers faithful. The Croatian center has shown a versatile skill set on the court and a very likable personality off of it. Zubac may have a bright future in Los Angeles, and although he may not play much in his first season, the rookie plans to make an impact using Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook.
Unlike centers before him, Zubac has become determined to master the shot the Lakers legend made famous. Zubac recently spoke with Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report about why players in the past never used the skyhook:
“You need to have a feel for that shot. It’s not an easy shot,” Zubac said. “If you don’t have a feel, even if you work out a year on that shot, you’re not going to master it. I think I have that feel, and I’m going to keep working on it.”
A bold move trying to perfect a shot only one other player in NBA history has been able to pull off on a regular basis, especially as a rookie. Despite the challenge, Zubac is determined to make the skyhook one of the best offensive weapons in his arsenal, via Pincus:
“That’s going to be my move,” Zubac said.
At this point, Zubac may be showcasing the skyhook more in practice and in D-League games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders more than with the Lakers in his first NBA season. Zubac is a virtual lock to make the final roster and has received high praise from the coaching staff as well as his teammates, but Timofey Mozgov and Tarik Black will likely get the bulk of the minutes at the center position.
Yi Jianlian, if he makes the final roster, will also make it tough for Zubac to get some minutes under Luke Walton this season. There’s no question Zubac is talented with a lot of potential to be a great player on the NBA level, but the Lakers are bringing him along slowly with no rush to thrust him into the lineup.