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Ivica Zubac waits for opportunity even after Lakers waive Andrew Bogut

By in Press Enterprise on January 10, 2018

By Bill Oram

LOS ANGELES — Ivica Zubac was not alone in believing an even bigger role awaited him in his second season with the Lakers.

“Zu was going into the summer as our starting center,” Coach Luke Walton said last month, while the Croatian big man was playing with the South Bay Lakers. “Which is tough, but that’s the NBA.”

Instead of a consistent role, Zubac has appeared in just 11 NBA games, with a season high of 12 minutes.

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The Lakers’ offseason acquisitions of veteran centers Brook Lopez and Andrew Bogut pushed Zubac down the depth chart, and the emergence of Julius Randle as a viable backup center nudged him out of the rotation entirely.

He acknowledged earlier this week that he anticipated having a larger role.

“I did,” he said, “but some things change and I can’t control everything. The only thing I can do is work hard and hope that they’re going to call my name.”

A second-round pick two summers ago, Zubac averaged 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 38 games as a rookie, including 11 starts.

Zubac is still waiting for an opportunity to carve out a role for himself, even after the Lakers waived Bogut earlier this week and Randle was moved into the starting lineup next to Lopez.

While the Croatian-speaking Bogut was personally a tremendous asset to Zubac, his departure could eventually clear a path to the court for the second-year center.

“I haven’t spoken with coaches about anything,” he said, “but I’m just doing the same thing. Working hard, staying ready and I hope my […]    

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