Los Angeles Clippers big man, Ivica Zubac didn’t have to pack his bag or change arenas when he was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Zubac, 22, didn’t see much playing time for the Lakers in his first two seasons and for large chunks of the 2018-19 campaign. But he was finally given a bigger role for the team in January and responded, averaging 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds 18 minutes across 17 contests.
Get this: Zubac plans to train with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this summer.
Abdul-Jabbar said that only one player has expressed interest in learning about the sky-hook and it was Zubac.
“Yeah, I was surprised,” Alex Kennedy told the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“So, going into the interview, I knew that the sky hook obviously is a legendary shot and it’s been so effective, I was wondering why we don’t see it more in the NBA today and I asked Kareem “how many players reached out to you, wanting to work with you?” I didn’t know if it was Kareem not really wanting to, you know, train guys and put that time in or, I didn’t know why we don’t see that more often, but Kareem said “only one player has reached out to him, and it was Zubac.” I was very surprised by that, first of all, props to Zubac for recognizing that that could be an asset for him. You know, Kareem talked about the shot and said, it’s a high percentage shot if you do it correctly, you can also draw the foul, and then it becomes a three-point play, and in today’s game, as much as people want to get away from mid-range shooting in today’s game, advanced analytics actually back that shot up because it’s an NBA three-point play and we know, you know, obviously today in the NBA it’s all about finishing right at the rim and getting a three-point play, so Kareem was surprised that more players hadn’t reached out to him and expressed their interest in learning that shot.”
The Croatian 7-footer had his coming out party during the Christmas day game against the Golden State Warriors.
He scored 18 points and hauled in 11 rebounds in LA’s win.
LeBron James hurt his groin in that game and missed important games in January, which gave Zubac extended time.
After success in January, Zubac was traded to the Clippers at the NBA deadline.
“I had fun on the Lakers,” Zubac told Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints. “I can’t say anything [bad]. The biggest difference is just winning. I’m winning way more now and that makes it so much fun. I would lie if I said I didn’t have fun on the Lakers.
“Here, everyone’s playing hard. We’re winning, and that’s what matters the most in this league. It’s easy to cheer when you’re winning and you’re making the right plays. Even when you’re not scoring a lot or whatever, you’ve just got to play your role. Winning it makes it so much more fun.”
“I think it was a mistake for the Lakers to trade him,” Alex Kennedy told Scoop B Radio.
“I didn’t understand that move at all, he played really well, he still has so much upside and they trade him for Mike Muscala, I just didn’t, I wasn’t a fan of that move. You know, I think they should have kept him and continued to grow with him.”