EL SEGUNDO – The nearly daily offseason workouts have left Lakers center Ivica Zubac feeling stronger, slimmer and faster. Zubac also has reported improvement enough in his outside shooting that apparently he has beaten teammate Larry Nance Jr. in 3-point competitions.
Despite all the improvements that have left both Zubac and the Lakers encouraged about his game, the Lakers’ second-year center may not take his biggest leap until Las Vegas Summer League play ends. Then, Zubac hopes to train with the NBA’s all-time leading scorerord.
“I hope after summer league I get the chance to work out with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]” Zubac said.
The reasoning is simple. Zubac has reported working on his hook shot “every day” at the Lakers’ practice facility with assistant coach Mark Madsen.
“But it’s different with someone who did it his whole career that can show you how to do it,” Zubac said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m going to use it a lot.”
Zubac makes his return to the Lakers’ Summer League team in Las Vegas beginning on July 7. Then, Zubac will team up with second-year forward Brandon Ingram, newly drafted point guard Lonzo Ball, newly drafted forward Kyle Kuzma, newly drafted guard/forward Josh Hart, newly drafted center Thomas Bryant and second-year guard David Nwaba.
After averaging 7.5 points on 52.9 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds during his rookie season, Zubac has said he hopes to average a double double in points and rebounds during summer league play. During his rookie season, Zubac impressed the Lakers with his various skills in the post and along the perimeter while showing improvement with his defense and conditioning. Zubac also intrigued the Lakers with a developing hook shot.
That prompted Abdul-Jabbar to tell Southern California News Group last month, “He’s equipped to use it well.” Abdul-Jabbar also expressed interest in helping the Lakers out in some capacity, including working with Zubac.