The Los Angeles Lakers taking Lonzo Ball second overall in the NBA Draft seemed like a foregone conclusion before the draft even began. What the team would do with the 27th pick was anyone’s guess, but the Magic Johnson and the Lakers were very excited to see Kyle Kuzma still on the board when that time came.
No one was quite sure what to make of Kuzma, who showed flashes of being a stretch-4 in college but hadn’t really put it all together. The Las Vegas Summer League was his coming out party as he averaged 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 48 percent from three-point range.
Kuzma would go on to be named Championship Game MVP after dropping 30 points and 10 rebounds. After his showing in Las Vegas, there are some expectations for the season and Magic appeared on ESPN’s First Take calling Kuzma the steal of the draft:
“I’ll tell you, the steal of the draft is going to be Kyle Kuzma. The young man can shoot the basketball, he also can put it down on the floor and create for himself or for his teammates.”
That very well could be the case though with the depth in this draft class, Kuzma could have some stiff competition. Nonetheless Magic isn’t alone in this thinking as Kuzma’s fellow rookies ranked him fifth in their biggest draft steals vote.
Kuzma gives the Lakers something they haven’t had at the power forward position as a player who can really stretch the floor. He also potentially has the quickness to play some small forward, giving Luke Walton some options in how to use him as a rookie.
The Lakers seem to have good luck with the 27th overall pick as the 2015 NBA Draft yielded Larry Nance Jr. in the same spot. If Kuzma keeps up his level of play from Summer League, he could very well prove Magic right.