Ivica Zubac: ‘Making the NBA All-Defensive Team’ is His Season Goal

Ivica Zubac: 'Making the NBA All-Defensive Team' is His Season Goal

Ivica Zubac just added his name to history books with the Los Angeles Clipper on Sunday.

The 25-year-old center posted a historic stat line against the Indiana Pacers after recording 31 points off 14-17 shooting and 29 rebounds, a League-best result for attacking the board this season. The Croatian also had three blocks on Sunday, and his execution defensively with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in and out of the starting lineup has inspired him to make his case as an elite defensive team candidate.

“Making the NBA All-Defensive team is something I’m really working towards,” Zubac said to AllClippers. “It’s one of my goals coming into the season, just being as best defensively as I can be— I want to show people that I’m capable of that, and for sure, that’s one of my goals.”

As the last pick of the 2016 NBA draft, Zubac was doubted by scouts for what he contributes to the floor defensively. Now manning the middle for the Clippers, the team currently ranks second in defensive rating, while he ranks sixth in blocks and gives up the League-lowest field goal percentage when players try to challenge him at the rim.

Not bad for the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2016 draft. Zubac kept those notes, stating the previous doubters have opened up his motivation towards making the Clippers defense hold a fierce personality.

“Coming into the League, that was always one of the questions about me on the defensive end of the floor,” Zubac said. “Just proving people wrong and proving to myself that I can contribute to defense really means a lot to me. Helping my team be one of the best defenses in the league. It’s something we pride ourselves on here.”

Though this may just be a breakout week for Zubac, it’s pretty impressive to see the big man lead his team to the fifth-best record in the high-powered Western Conference, primarily through his defense and lack of two superstar wings. His specialty at that end may not be as enticing as a Rudy Gobert swat to the fifth stands or the vocal and scrappy difference-making of a Draymond Green, but Zubac has earned the ‘defensive anchor’ title in the Clippers locker room.

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