The 2019 FIBA World Cup is set to begin at the end of August, but one of the storylines has been All-Star players turning down invitations to play.
As Kyle Kuzma was one of the first to receive an invitation and due to the number of dropouts, he may have a real shot of making the roster.
Of the players currently on the Team USA roster, just four have been All-Stars before — Brook Lopez (one), Kyle Lowry (five), Khris Middleton (one), and Kemba Walker (three) — meaning this will be one of the weaker USA rosters in recent memory.
However, Kuzma has no plans to turn down a chance to play for Team USA, according to Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times:
“I’m not going to take for granted the chance to represent my country,” he said. “I worked hard for this moment. I wasn’t a top recruit or an All-American, so I earned this. … I’ve also heard from some players who say they come back from Team USA more confident and poised and have career years. Hopefully, I can do the same.”
This is just another in a long string of signs that Kuzma has been working extra hard on his game this summer, something he must do if he wants to be a legitimate contributor on a championship contender
“I just want to do as much as I can. I’ve been working super hard this summer on my game. I’m expecting to have a big year, too.”
The Lakers chose Kuzma as the player they kept in the Anthony Davis trade for this exact reason as his work ethic gives hope that the flaws in his game will be noticeably improved year in and year out.
If Kuzma proves the Lakers right, they could find themselves as the favorite to win it all in the 2020 NBA Finals.
It’s why Kuzma wants to be a part of Team USA as young players are often helped tremendously by playing for their country. The current roster includes five players that are in their first four seasons in the league as getting a chance to work with those All-Star players in a game setting is a huge help to one’s development.