Lakers news: Magic Johnson calls Kyle Kuzma ‘steal’ of 2017 NBA Draft
After taking over during the middle of the 2016-17 NBA season, the first major task for President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka was the 2017 NBA Draft. Initially armed with two draft picks, Johnson and Pelinka eventually turned them into four and selected Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Thomas Bryant.
While Ball averaged a near triple-double during the Las Vegas Summer League, Kuzma surprised most basketball fans after averaging 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. As Kuzma wants to establish himself as a ‘great’ two-way player, Johnson declared him the steal of the draft on ESPN’s First Take as transcribed by Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation:
“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.”
Since it was ‘just’ Summer League, it will be interesting to see if Kuzma’s performance can translate to the NBA. The rookie forward is purely focused on defense as he believes his scoring (51.4 percent from the field and 48.0 percent from three) will carry over.
Although the Lakers have had four lottery picks, the storied franchise has done extremely well with their late first to early second round picks. In addition to Kuzma and Hart, the Lakers have also selected Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and Ivica Zubac.