Ivica Zubac Rumors

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Ivica Zubac
Ivica Zubac
Position: C
Born: 03/18/97
Height: 7-0 / 2.13
Weight:245 lbs. / 111.1 kg.
Salary: $1,544,951
Through the Feb. 7 trade deadline, the Clippers had a defensive rating of 110.2, the 19th-best mark in the league. But over the past 13 games with Zubac at starting center, the team has posted a 108.8 defensive rating, the 11th-best figure in the league. Before their 125-104 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, the Clippers were a top-seven defense with Zubac. “We have a rim-protector. Bottom line,” Doc Rivers said. “Trezz does it at times. But Zu is a true rim-protector, and Zu has been great at it. So that’s why (we’ve improved).”
Now, perimeter defenders like Patrick Beverley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander aren’t as worried that if they get beat on the perimeter their man will score in the paint. That allows them to play up on the ball more aggressively, knowing that Zubac will block or contest the shot if they get blown by. “If someone beats our guy, I’ll always be down there trying to help, trying to protect the rim,” Zubac said. “He’s not one of those guys who cares about getting dunked on or anything,” Beverley added. “Pressure from me and Shai, send them to Zu, Zu cleaning up.”
Though he’s quick to admit Zubac isn’t close to that level of a defender yet — Temple pointed out that Zubac can still improve his communication and defensive rebounding — he sees the kernels of a dominant defensive presence. “His verticality is the biggest thing,” Temple said. “He’s 7-foot-1. He’s got a pretty good amount of girth to him, too. Being able to go straight up and be vertical. Then, getting his hands on passes. Having active hands when they try to pass and stuff like that. “His verticality is something you can’t teach.”
On Wednesday morning before the Lakers played the Denver Nuggets, James expanded on that line of thinking. He said twice it was unfair to place so much on the shoulders of the younger players. “You have four guys in our top eight rotation that you have to really rely on, and it’s unfair to them to ask for so much when they’re in their second or third year,” James said. “We have Zo [Lonzo Ball], Josh [Hart], Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] and B.I. [Brandon Ingram]. And we had Zu [Ivica Zubac] at the time. That’s like five out of our top nine guys that we rely on, and they’re in their first and second year. You can’t find one other team in our league right now that has to rely on that much every single night from their young guys that’s in their first or second year.”