Los Angeles Lakers forward Zach Auguste went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, but quickly secured a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League squad. A lifelong fan of the Boston Celtics, it was ironic that Auguste wound up in purple and gold, but he was appreciative of the opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing professional basketball.
Auguste was able to turn a solid Summer League performance into a partially guaranteed two-year deal with the Lakers. Auguste made an impression on coaches and teammates alike, quickly becoming part of the early morning “Breakfast Club” training group. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, Auguste spoke about the camaraderie he has built with his teammates:
“That’s the special thing about basketball; you build relationships with players who are from all over the world, all over the country. The first day we got in there for Summer League, there were four or five guys from the team who were under contract and they kind of took me under their wing. They gave great advice to help me, especially Larry because he’s kind of from a similar situation as me [as a forward who spent four years in college] and has a similar playing style.”
Auguste mentioned Nance as someone who took him under his wing, and Nance himself was extremely complimentary of the rookie:
“Zach is a guy who everybody loves as a teammate because he’s genuinely happy for people when they do well,” Larry Nance Jr. told Basketball Insiders. “And I enjoy sharing the court with him because he knows how to play the game the right way.”
Unfortunately for Auguste, the Lakers front court is extremely crowded, as they already have 14 guaranteed contracts on their roster, and Yi Jianlian is widely expected to be retained as well even though his contract, like Auguste’s, is only partially guaranteed. Unless Auguste can convince the Lakers to waive or trade a player with a guaranteed deal, he will likely spend next season in the D-League with the D-Fenders, where he can play plenty of minutes and develop.
Still, regardless of where he plays this season, Auguste is a tough guy to bet against. His brand of high-energy basketball may not be an asset for the Lakers right away, but he is a player to keep an eye on.