When LA Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue first opted for a star-studded lineup of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, there was an anomaly in the starting lineup. Alongside MVPs, All-Stars and 75th Anniversary team members was Ivica Zubac, a former second-round pick still awaiting his first award recognition.
But in the Clippers' recent success, he has proved that though he may not be an All-Star, he is an indispensable part of the LA Clippers.
In the Clippers' blowout win against the Phoenix Suns, the Croatian center went off for 19 points and eight rebounds, knocking down eight of his nine shot attempts. And in the game prior, he was just a rebound shy from a 20-20 game — he finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds.
“[Westbrook and Harden are] gonna make the right play every time," Zubac said after the Suns game. They’re always looking for you. They play old school, they’re gonna reward their big … I love playing with guys like that.”
Russell Westbrook and James Harden are doing wonders for Ivica Zubac
It's not unusual to see how the addition of two NBA assists leaders has helped with the production of the Clippers' big man.
Westbrook is still a speedy and fierce player whose aptitude to drive down the lane has drawn attention from opposing defenses, freeing up space in the paint for easy flushes. Harden is still a magician with the ball, effortlessly bouncing the ball straight into the hands of open teammates. The Californian duo is combining for 13 assists per game.
In the post-game press conference, Tyronn Lue shared that Harden and Zubac have been working together for 15 minutes every practice session. From his first season to now, the seven-footer always needed a true floor general to take him to the next level.
36 games into the season, it's clear he has more than he could ask for. And from the look of it, he is more dominant than he has ever been.