The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans with a surprisingly great game from big man Ivica Zubac, which will help bring in another big man.
The Los Angeles Lakers‘ home matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans was compelling for multiple reasons.
First, this served as the return to LA for Julius Randle, who signed with the Pelicans this past offseason. Randle really came into his own in his last year in LA and continued his success into New Orleans this season. While it made sense why the Lakers let Randle walk, it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
However, this matchup had even more intrigue because of all of the Los Angeles Lakers rumors surrounding Anthony Davis. While there have been plenty of Lakers rumors, they have not been this strong other than one instance: the rumors about LeBron himself.
Those obviously came to fruition, which leads many to believe that Davis is going to be a Laker; it is not a matter of if but a matter of when.
Then, at the very base of it, there was a compelling matchup between two talented teams that was going to be interesting regardless of storylines. The Lakers came out victorious by a 112-104 margin in what was a great game.
It was not LeBron, Davis or even Randle that took the spotlight on the court. Instead, it was former second-round pick backup center, Ivica Zubac. Zubac has not really done anything of significance this season and came out and had the best game of his career.
Zubac played the fourth-most minutes (32) due to JaVale McGee sitting the game out with an illness. In those 32 minutes, Zubac scored 16 points, snagged 11 rebounds and added two blocks and two steals. He shot 80 percent from the floor.
And while LeBron snagged a triple-double and Kyle Kuzma led the team in points, it was Zubac that stood out as the biggest performer of the night.
This is great news for the Los Angeles Lakers. It was evident that the team was trying to make Zubac successful and was showcasing how good LeBron James can make a big man be. If Zubac can drop 16 and 10, there’s no question that Davis will succeed alongside James.
This was a recruiting pitch to Anthony Davis that was supposed to showcase why he would be a fit in the Lakers’ system. While the New Orleans Pelicans have the ultimate say, the NBA is a player’s league and Davis can force a trade to LA if he really wanted to.
Not only that, that kind of performance is going to make the Pelicans think about the value in adding Zubac in a return. While he is by no means a significant piece if it could just save Josh Hart from being traded it would be great.
No NBA team is going to add significant value to a player because of one game. However, seeing that performance first-hand with at least get the idea that Zubac can be a starting-caliber center in the NBA.
If those seeds are planted, and Zubac has a nice little stretch, he very well could help the Lakers keep Josh Hart, who has more value to the team.
Either way, this was the perfect showing for the Los Angeles Lakers.