When analyzing the changes to the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster over the last two months, it’s quite remarkable. Their starters feature two of the game’s elite in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, along with free-agent acquisition DeMarcus Cousins. Those three players right there can bring a team deep into the playoffs.
But we’re looking at the future of this organization. Who will make his name known for the Los Angeles Lakers in the upcoming season?
The future of the Lakers: Kyle Kuzma.
When he was announced as the 27th pick in the 2017 draft, few people knew who he was. It only took a trade to the Lakers and a few months for the basketball world to see the special talent Magic Johnson had just acquired. By November 2017, Kyle Kuzma was gaining attention as more than just Lonzo Ball’s co-star.
Lonzo Ball found out this summer that he wouldn’t be part of the Lakers plans as he was part of the Anthony Davis trade.
Now it’s Kyle Kuzma’s time to shine, and he will take full advantage of it.
Gaining advice from some of the game’s best
Being on the same team as former All-Stars and champions have its perks, the main one being advice. Playing alongside generational talents like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Kuzma will learn what it takes to go from “good” to “great” in the NBA. Conversations on how to deal with in-game situations and how to read the floor are going to be vital for Kuzma’s progression as an all-around player.
Being a teammate of LeBron’s for a season, Kuzma has gained knowledge that so few in the league ever have. You can learn a lot from watching a top-5 player all-time experience such a bad season for his team
A young talent
At only 24, Kyle Kuzma hasn’t entered his prime and is still figuring out what kind of player he is. One thing we saw last season is that he is a durable player for an entire season, as he led the team in starts. While this was due to the injury-plagued roster, the former Utah Ute gained experience. Most late draft picks aren’t asked to contribute much to their team immediately. Not only was he asked to help significantly, but he overwhelmed in his first two seasons.
Young talent like this is rare in the NBA. The Lakers front office knows it, the league knows it, and the team knows it. Last season’s 18.7 points per game were impressive from Kuzma. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s able to adapt to his new teammates and coach.
Kuz is mentally strong
Being young and having mental toughness is–and I cannot stress this enough–crucial in today’s NBA, with social media’s role.
One thing Kyle Kuzma will never fail at is working. A Flint, Michigan native, he didn’t have the ideal childhood: crime, gun violence, and a horrible water crisis. In an interview with Bleacher Report, Kuzma explained that he “didn’t want to go back [home].” There were times where he never had any colleges look at him. He saw drugs all over his neighborhood as a child but avoided them. He knew what his end goal was before he was even in middle school, and he never gave up on the dream he had.
Being young and having mental toughness is crucial in today’s NBA, with social media playing such an active role. However, 3.5 million people on Instagram support Kuzma and know that he is on the path to a career full of promise and accolades.
Expect this young Los Angeles Lakers talent to have a sincerely great 2019-20 NBA season.