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This is the 5th and final part of a five part series, focusing on the Lakers Centers for the 2018-19 season. We’ll discuss their potential roles, recent achievements, and injury risks. The Center position projects to be the Lakers biggest weakness.

This section includes former Warrior JaVale McGee, 1st round rookie Moritz “Moe” Wagner out of Germany, and former 2nd round pick Ivica Zubac out of Croatia. The weakness at this position lies in their lack of star power combined with their lack of depth. Likely starter JaVale McGee does have a Championship ring, but isn’t used to playing heavy minutes (he played a  backup role with Golden State). Their only other options are a rookie Power Forward (Moe), and a 3rd year player who is still looking for his breakout season (Zubac).


JaVale McGee
Photo Credit: Getty Images

JaVale McGee  #7

  • Projected Role: Starting Center, rim protector, and lob target for LeBron James
  • Salary this season: $2.4M on a 1-year contract
  • 30 years old, in his 13th NBA season
  • Has played for the Wizards, Nuggets, 76ers, Mavericks, and Warriors
  • In 2009 and 2010, McGee participated in Team USA mini-camp and eventually played a scrimmage with the team, but ultimately didn’t make the final roster
  • Finished 2nd in the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest where he dunked three balls in one dunk, setting a Guinness World Record for most balls dunked at once
  • In 2011, he recorded 12 blocks in a single game, tying him for 15th most all time in a single game
  • Played for Team World in the 2018 NBA Africa Game
  • Full time Vegan since 2017

2017-18 (Warriors)

  • Averages: 4.8 points / 2.6 rebounds / 0.9 blocks / 9.5 minutes
  • Won the NBA Finals

Injuries

  • For a big man with 12 seasons under his belt, it’s somewhat of a surprise that McGee has suffered no notable injuries during his career. This may be partially due to the fact that he’s only averaged more then 20 minutes per game in 2 out of his 12 seasons.

Moe Wagner
Photo Credit: Rohan Ali / Lakers.com

Moe Wagner  #21  (PF/C)

  • Projected Role: Backup PF/C. Has outside shooting ability and can function as a Stretch 4/5. This should work well with LeBron’s ability to command double teams and find open teammates
  • Salary this season: $1.76M with 1 year ramining after this season, and a team option for the following 2 years
  • 21 years old, in his 1st NBA season
  • Drafted 25th overall by the Lakers in this year’s draft

2017-18 (Michigan Wolverines)

  • Averages: 14.6 points / 7.1 rebounds / 52% FG / 39% 3PT

German National Team

  • In 2014, he won gold in the European Championship (Div B) as a member of Germany’s under-18 squad
  • In the 2017 FIBA under-20 tournament, he was his team’s leading scorer with 16.1 ppg

Injuries

  • Moe has a clean bill of health which is important for all players, but especially for big men.

Ivica Zubac
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images

Ivica Zubac  #40

  • Projected Role: Zu’s role is yet to be determined. He has the size to become the starter, but he needs to show that he’s improved since last season. Due to the Lakers lack of depth at Center, his future is in his own hands. If Moe or McGee consistently play at a high level, Zubac might find himself on the trade block or even worse – in the G League. The Lakers have 13 usable players and only 12 active spots, so Zubac is competing just to make the roster at this point.
  • Salary this season: $1.54M on an expiring contract
  • 21 years old, in his 3rd NBA season out of Croatia
  • Drafted #32 overall by the Lakers in the 2016-17 draft

2017-18 (Lakers)

  • Averages: 3.7 points / 2.8 rebounds / 0.3 blocks

Croatian National Team

  • Was a member of the 2013 FIBA under-16 Croatian team
  • Averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds in the 2015 FIBA under-19 world championship
  • Averaged 16 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the 2015 FIBA Europe under-18 world championship, and made the All-Tournament Second Team

Injuries

  • Late in his rookie season, he suffered a season ending ankle sprain. So far it doesn’t seem to be a lingering injury. Besides that, he’s healthy and ready to go

Follow Ryan Ramsey on Twitter @DoubleR818

Top Background Photo Credit: Chris McGee / Getty Images

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