Kyle Kuzma was selected number 27 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night. The 6’9” former Runnin Ute should fit in perfectly with the new direction the Lakers seem to be going. With the first year having Magic Johnson as the President of Basketball Operations, he seems to be putting his stamp on things right away. The Lakers already traded away D’Angelo Russell, who seemed to cause some problems in the locker room. Nick Young also appears to be heading else where. They draft potential star, Lonzo Ball with the second pick. So why should Laker fans be excited about Kuzma, and what should they expect?
Lets start with some of things you can’t measure. Kuzma is the type of player that will be the first in the gym and the last to leave, as cliche as that sounds. He worked extremely hard each of his four seasons (one redshirt year) as a Ute, making huge improvements each year. He was a favorite in the locker room, not one player had an issue with him. Kyle Kuzma is also leaving the University of Utah with his Degree in hand.
With that being said, things weren’t always perfect for Kuzma. Their have been reports that Kuzma and Coach Krystkowiak didn’t always see eye to eye. Coach Krystkowiak has been known to be a “my way or the highway” kind of coach. Utah has seen it’s fair share of transfers under his tenure. However, Kuzma never ran away from things not necessarily being perfect, he put his head down and worked & was willing to adapt and change for the team.
What about his game? What will he bring on the court to Los Angeles this year? Kuzma at 6’9” and 223 has NBA potential written all over him. He fits the modern NBA game perfectly, with his size and his versatility. He is an extremely good passer, especially for his size. He can see the floor well in half court and in transition. He is as unselfish as a player as you can get, making the extra pass, & making the right basketball play the majority of the time.
He extended his range towards the end of his junior season and showed huge improvement at the draft combine. I would imagine the improvement will continue, his shot mechanically looks great! Kuzma does a great job finishing at the rim or with a floater. Don’t be surprised when he pulls out the old school sky hook as well, you don’t see it very often any more, but Kuzma is very effective at it. He can score down low effectively & in more ways than one way. He can score with his back to the basket and has great touch, & he can turn and face the basket which makes the defense play you straight up without leaning on you.
Defensively he has some room to grow, however, he isn’t allergic to playing defense. He has the potential to be a very good defensive player. His ability to switch on screens is huge, and his footwork is very good. The biggest thing holding him back is strength. I do personally think over first couple seasons he will get stronger and will be come a very good defensive player.
Probably his strongest attribute is his ability to rebound the ball. Has great instincts, which is something that can’t be taught. He has a quick jump and with his standing reach at 8’11 1⁄2 ” it allows him to go up in a crowd and get the ball. Rebounding is one of those things that tends to carry over from college to the pros.
Laker fans are going to quickly love Kuzma, he might not contribute right away (playing behind Ingram, Larry Nance Jr, & Randle), but when his name is called he will make the most of those minutes. He is the kind of guy who will help create good team chemistry and will make those around him better. The Lakers got a good one in Kyle Kuzma.