Kyle Kuzma has spent the early parts of his NBA career making the Los Angeles Lakers look like geniuses for selecting him with the 27th overall pick. He helped win a Summer League championship in Las Vegas, taking home MVP honors in the championship game, and has continued his impressive play in preseason.
Many mock drafts had Kuzma being selected in the second round, but at this stage, it appears that a number of teams are kicking themselves for letting him slide past him.
Kuzma’s trainer, Clint Parks, appeared on the LN Podcast and shared that the Spurs were interested in selecting Kuzma if he fell past the Lakers:
He had a good feeling about his Lakers workout. I remember when he came in for his Lakers workout we worked out the night before at the facility and he was shooting the ball well, his body was feeling good and he was really confident. He had been having good workouts and he was ready to put on a show for the front office and the coaching staff and I think he did that in his workout. He carried that over from the combine so that they could see that it wasn’t a fluke. When the draft came, him and his agent felt comfortable that if he was around at 27 that the Lakers were going to take him. I know the Spurs were also really interested in him as well (with the 29th pick).
The Spurs have long been known to find diamonds in the rough late in the draft so their interest in Kuzma only confirms that the Lakers scouting department is doing something right. In the modern NBA where versatility is massively important, Kuzma is the kind of player that every team needs.
The NBA Draft is all about upside, so some teams passed on Kuzma because, as a 22-year-old junior, the thought was that his ceiling wasn’t as high as players a year or two younger than him. However, it appears that they overlooked a very talented player, and the Lakers were the beneficiaries.
Check out the full podcast with Clint Parks: