By George Efkarpides /firstname.lastname@example.org
During the summer there has been a lot of hype about Lonzo Ball due to his unique skillset but also due to his father’s off-court “activities”.
There is no doubt that “Zo” is a special talent, has great court vision and is the clear favorite for rookie of the year.
Don’t “sleep on” his teammate, Kyle Kuzma who looks like the “steal” of the draft so far.
The versatile forward has looked like a complete player during summer league and preseason showing off his dribbling, shooting and defending along with some basketball finesse.
The “baby Lakers” are in the final stages of rebuilding mode and have quite a few unique prospects on the team. Brandon Ingram who was one of the most talked about rookies last season hasn’t lived up to the hype yet. Julius Rande, now in his 4th NBA season, has improved but has not yet developed into an all-star like player.
People in L.A. are starting to realize that Kyle Kuzma could very much be the real deal. Of course, he has to prove it playing at the higher level but the speed, wingspan, basketball IQ and explosiveness are all there.
The NBA has quickly developed into a position-less league and having a stretch four that can hit pull-up jumpers and beat opponents of the dribble is exactly “what the doctor ordered” for the Lakers.
Kuzma, grew up in Flint, Michigan. The water there was poisonous so he couldn’t really open his mouth while showering and it’s safe to say that he didn’t have the easiest of childhoods but what was never in doubt is his confidence, even when most analysts wrote him off.
“Before I left, [some draft analysts] had me pegged as second-round, undrafted type of guy, and I didn’t believe that. I am a really confident person, and I believe in myself and always thought I would be a first-rounder because of my talent level.” (Source: Bleacher Report)
The sky is the limit for the 27th round pick of this year’s draft and what remains to be determined is how many minutes he can actually get in a crowded L.A. Lakers frontcourt. Randle and Ingram may remain in front of him in the depth chart but if they underperform, Luke Walton will have no choice but to give “Kuz” more minutes.
Can he do it consistently at an NBA level? That we will see…