Ivica Zubac had the game of his life in a Sunday matinee against the Indiana Pacers. Zubac wreaked havoc on the Pacers’ interior all night long, tallying 31 points and 29 rebounds (17 defensive, 12 offensive) to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a much-needed 114-100 victory without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
And Kyle Kuzma, Zubac’s former teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers, couldn’t help but express his awe over the Croatian international’s dominance.
Posting on his official Twitter account, Kuzma gushed over Ivica Zubac, calling him one of the most unheralded big men in the NBA.
“Zu one the most underrated bigs in the league and I’m happy you had a game like that for everyone to see wow!!!!! @ivicazubac 💐,” Kuzma wrote.
Zubac was then appreciative of Kuzma’s effusive praise.
“My guy 🙌🏻,” Zubac replied.
Ivica Zubac and Kyle Kuzma were teammates for one and a half seasons before the former was shipped away in a trade was deemed egregious the moment it was announced. Zubac was memorably traded by the Lakers not just to any team, but to intracity rivals Clippers, in exchange for Mike Muscala.
The Lakers traded for Muscala in a bid to improve the team’s floor spacing around LeBron James, but giving up a promising big man in the process did not end up being the shrewdest move. To add insult to injury, Muscala only played in 17 games for the Lakers before bolting for the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency.
The Lakers drafted Ivica Zubac with the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and he had always produced for them in limited minutes, making the trade extremely baffling to this date. This season, the Clippers have needed Zubac to step up in a big way given their limited depth at center, and as a result, the seventh-year pro has put up career-best stats of 10.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks while averaging a career-high 30.8 minutes a night.
And with there being considerable talk regarding a potential Clippers pursuit of Pacers big man Myles Turner, there’s no better time for Zubac to stamp his class and cement himself as the team’s undisputed number one center.