The Los Angeles Lakers have made a habit out of finding talent in the later portions of the NBA Draft, but even they had to be pleasantly surprised by just how good rookie forward Kyle Kuzma was during the 2017-18 NBA season.
After being selected with the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season, which landed him on the All-Rookie First Team.
Kuzma, who played three seasons at Utah before declaring for the draft, wasn’t expected to have this kind of an impact in the NBA. However, he isn’t surprised by his success and has no plans of letting up anytime soon.
In a piece by Lakers Senior Writer Kevin Ding, Kuzma explained his lofty goals.
“My friends, they all say that I’m turning Hollywood. Big-time. And I want to be that,” Kuzma said. “I want to be a guy who’s bigger than what they say. You look at Kobe. Michael Jordan. Somebody like Michael Jackson. Those guys are bigger than life. I strive to be that. I think that’s why I’m here.”
Kuzma certainly has a long way to go before he can hit the level of the stars that he listed, but he isn’t afraid of the work that it will take to get there. All reports indicate that he is putting in a tremendous amount of work this offseason as he prepares for his sophomore campaign.
For a Lakers team that is rebuilding, finding a talent like Kuzma late in the draft can be the difference between staying at the bottom and clawing their way back to the top. If Kuzma is able to achieve his lofty goals, then it won’t be long before the Lakers do indeed make it back to the top of the NBA mountain.
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