The 2016 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday June 23rd with the Houston Rockets selecting 37th and 43rd. While the Rockets are without a first round pick given GM Daryl Morey’s tendency to orchestrate trades it would be unwise to count him out of making a deal to move up. With that Space City Scoop is featuring a Draft Prospect Series covering 60 of the top ranked prospects. Next up is international center Ivica Zubac.
- Height: 7’1″
- Weight: 265 lbs
- Country: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Position: Center
- Age: 19
- Reach: Not available, but Draft Express termed it “massive” so use your imagination on what that might translate to.
- Wingspan: 7’4″
- College or Pro League: Mega Leks, Serbia
- Stat line: 5 Games, 6.8 Points Per Game, 3.0 Rebounds Per Game, 1.2 Blocks Per Game
Please note, the rankings below come from the most up to date versions as the time of writing. That said not all the mock drafts provide second round ranks or updates often only extend to the end of the first round.
Therefore, if you check a ranking and note the number has changed it’s likely due to updates and a shift in the rankings.
ESPN Chad Ford: 21
NBA Scott Howard Cooper: 19
Bleacher Report: 27
His main weapons feature him working in the post where he has a number of scoring options at his disposal.
Unlike most players his size he has proven the ability to keep up with speedy transition and showcased an agility and mobility with quick feet.
He has excellent hands showcasing a soft touch and reacts well to know which offensive weapon is best utilized in the moment.
Yet another of the Mega Leks young squad who’ll likely get selected in the first round.
This center may epitomize the term grab and stash as he is a youngster who’ll surely benefit from another season overseas or learning a team’s concepts with a D-League affiliate.
As per Mike Schmitz of Draft Express:
"Coming into last summer with limited international experience under his belt, having only played a bit part at the 2013 FIBA U16 European Championship, and missing the summer of 2014 entirely, Zubac averaged a sensational 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds over 26.5 minutes per game for Croatia’s U19 squad in Greece to finish second among all players in PER and help his team to a silver medal"
With the sheer number of injuries he’s been through the past few years it begs asking if he’s injury prone.
He lacks the ability to defend outside of the paint and even flounders within it. None of these are alarm raising issues given his age as most centers take time to develop and he’s had limited experience (but excelled in his opportunities).
He simply needs time to grow to develop a more versatile offensive repertoire with better ball handling, improve defensively and gain range on his shot.
Honors and Awards:
As per Wikipedia:
- Jordan Brand Classic All-American (2015)
- Nike Hoop Summit (2015)
- First-team Parade All-American (2015)
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I doubt the big man will be around when the Rockets make their first selection simply because of the sheer number of teams who’ll want a grab and stash with potential.
In addition, he’s not a player the Rockets would (or should) want to move up to grab, especially since there are others Houston could target if that were their true desire.
As owner Leslie Alexander clearly stated the Rockets goal is to always be competing for a title and Morey reiterated these sentiments via his interviews stating the team will look to add one if not two free agent stars. This might be offset with some picks who can add depth, but Morey will want immediate contributors, not another project.
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