Mitch Kupchak Discusses Lakers’ Season, Future

Lakers rookie Ivica Zubac has seen little playing time so far, but GM Mitch Kupchak is confident that the Croatian center has a bright NBA future, relays Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. In a wide-ranging interview, Kupchak addresses the 19-year-old prospect, who was the 32nd pick in this year’s draft, along with other topics surrounding the Lakers, who have lost eight straight games after a 10-10 start.

On Zubac and the young core that L.A. has assembled through the draft:

“Our scouts have done a wonderful job. Beginning with Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle two years ago, D’Angelo [Russell] and Larry Nance [Jr.] and then this year with Brandon Ingram and a player that will play … Ivica Zubac. You haven’t seen too much of him, and he’s very young, but he’s very skilled, and we think he has a bright future.”

On the hiring of Luke Walton as head coach:

“We love Luke Walton. He’s not a Hall of Fame coach today, but we’re betting that every year he’s going to become better and better. He’ll be a really good coach, and maybe a great coach, but a lot of that has to do with the players we get him, too.”

On guard Nick Young, who has become a regular starter after an offseason filled with rumors of his possible release:

“In training camp, clearly the biggest surprise was how quickly Nick fit in. You can see that we desperately miss what he brings to the team. I know that’s a surprise for a lot of people to hear me say that because we didn’t expect the kind of contribution. He’s really dedicated himself to be the kind of player that fits into this system, and he’s one of our best on-ball defenders.”

On veteran guard Lou Williams, who is averaging a career-best 19.2 points per game at age 30:

“I wasn’t sure how Lou would fit into a motion offense, where there’s so much passing and movement. I think you can say that our most valuable player has been Lou Williams.”

On the possibility of a significant trade before the February 23rd deadline:

“We’re fun to watch. We’re very competitive. We love our coaching staff. We love our young players. We’re going to have to be a little patient. We’re going to have to do our job, which is to look at opportunities that may come up in the next month or two. And if there are none — which is fine with me, because I like the young guys on the team — then during the offseason, we’ll have to look at opportunities.”

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