LAS VEGAS – The attempt once earned Andrew Bynum a quick trip to the bench. The concept became a disturbing trend to former Lakers coach Byron Scott.
But Lakers coach Luke Walton views the 3-point shot differently. After serving as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors as they perfected their outside shooting in the past two years, Walton plans to maximize that philosophy with a younger and more unproven roster. So much that the Lakers have encouraged rookie center Ivica Zubac to extend his range.
“Once they prove it to Coach Walton, he’ll let them shoot them,” Lakers summer league coach Jesse Mermuys said. “Obviously [Zubac] has to prove that. But that’s where the game is going. If you’re not allowing your guys to do that, then you’re behind the times. We have to encourage all that. If they prove it and make it, you have to let them shoot it.”
Zubac has not taken any 3-pointers yet through three summer league games. Yet, he has averaged nine points on a 64.3 percent clip based off a mix of post-ups and jumpers.
His infectious enthusiasm has gone beyond playing for his childhood team. He shared, “I really love the system” after the 19-year-old Bosnian native felt constricted when he played in Croatia.
“I was in the system where coach tells you who’s going to shoot now and he calls the plays. Players don’t have freedom. Here, you have freedom and you can show what you have,” Zubac said. “To have it for this first time is so great. I can show what I can do.”