The Los Angeles Lakers introduced their No. 27 draft pick, Kyle Kuzma on Thursday, who spent the past three seasons playing for the University of Utah. In our interview, Kuzma talks about how he sees himself fitting into Luke Walton’s system and his excitement to get started with NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
In his introductory press conference, general manager Rob Pelinka revealed that Kuzma was a player that had been on the Lakers scouting department radar for the past couple of years, and Kuzma said he had a confident feeling that the Lakers were going to draft him.
The video of the interview is above and a transcription follows.
Q: You’ve spent the past three years playing for Utah, now you’re a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and sitting up there alongside Magic Johnson with your new jersey, how does it feel?
Feels great, growing up if you’re a basketball fan, you know the Lakers are the first team you really learn about, so playing here is going to be a tremendous blessing, and a great opportunity. This is basketball royalty here, so it’s great.
Q: You said you knew you were going to be a Laker when you knew the Lakers had the 27th pick, what made you so confident?
Just my relationship in the couple of interviews and meetings that I’ve had with the Lakers, like Magic said, that’s my guy, I kind of knew, once they had back-to-back picks that they would potentially take me, so I got less stressful on draft night.
Q: Something else you said in your interview with us moments after you had been drafted, that I want to clarify, was that you do a lot of things really, really well but there’s not anything that you necessarily do great, did you mean that?
I think that’s it. I’m not a knock down shooter. I’m not an elite defender, but I can do all of those things at a pretty high level, and that’s going to serve me well at this level for the next coming years.
Q: So, positionless versatility is what we’ve talked about so much and how that fits into this system, Luke’s style of play, how do you envision yourself running alongside these guys?
Just doing whatever. Luke is coming from Golden State and that’s positionless basketball at its finest really, so for me to come here and to put me all over the floor wherever he feels comfortable and what’s best for the team is where I can envision myself at.
Q: What are you most looking forward to when you hit Las Vegas Summer League?
It’s going to be fun. They say when you’re a Laker in Summer League in Vegas it’s pretty hectic, so I’m really excited to see the fan base out there and it’s going to be great to get out on the court finally, cause in the draft process you don’t really play 5 on 5 too much, so its going to be fun.
Q: You have such strong ties with your hometown Flint, Michigan and have been trying for years to raise awareness to the water crisis there, and you finally have a platform where your voice can reach an even greater audience. What are you hoping to do with that this year?
Just to keep gaining awareness. Flint water crisis was a big topic during political season and kind of died down, so my job, I feel like this is all bigger than me and my family, it’s really about my community. My community is suffering with the water crisis right now, and it should be cleaned up by 2020 but it’s light years away when you think about it, so really to gain awareness, and help my community out, because I have a big sense of pride with the
Q: This one coming from the fans, do you think you can play small forward?
I definitely think I can play small forward, I have the skillset, quickness, agility to play that position. I gotta get used to it because in college I played the four primarily at Utah, but I have a great skillset and I can adapt to different things.