Developing Young Bigs

Is it worth the time, effort and roster spots to develop Ivica Zubac and/or Thomas Bryant? From the 2014 draft, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Jusuf Nurkic, Clint Capela and Nikola Jokic are solid big men in today’s NBA. From 2015, there’s KAT, Kristaps Porzingis, WCS and Myles Turner. From 2016, I count Domantas Sabonis and from 2017, there’s Lauri Markkanen and John Collins. I don’t put players like Jordan Bell, Larry Nance, Jr., Noah Vonleh, Frank Kaminsky, Skal Labissiere or Montrezl Harrell (and others I may have missed) in that tier of players.

I think that one thing that bigs have in common, and this probably goes for 95% of young players, is that it takes 2-4 seasons to truly see what you have with them. Julius Randle has clearly gone from infant to toddler to reliable young veteran in three full seasons. Larry Nance, Jr. caught on quickly, but he was already an old 22 and will never be anything more than a reliable role player. From the last 4 drafts, there are precious few stars, which raises the issue of whether the Lakers should invest the energy in developing their pair of young twenty year old centers.

I believe that both players have significant upside. I would LOVE to get a more in depth viewpoint on this in one of Laker Tom’s published articles and thoughts from everyone else.