Spurs’ Gregg Popovich speaks out on coaching Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma during the summer
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had some nice words for Los Angeles Lakers youngster Kyle Kuzma, who was supposed to be a member of the USA men’s national basketball team that competed in the FIBA World Cup.
After posting averages of 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season, Kuzma was invited to be a part of Team USA this past summer. He was supposed to make the World Cup roster, but he suffered an ankle injury before the competition. Still, Pop was impressed with what he saw from the 24-year-old forward.
Popovich on coaching @kylekuzma for 🇺🇸: “I loved it.” Compared him to a young Manu watching from afar, w/no idea what was happening on the court, just a lot of energy. Then, “When he got hurt, it was a huge blow for our team.” Said Kuz come a long way from a mental standpoint.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 3, 2019
Kuzma made his season debut against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night, putting up nine points and three boards in 19 minutes. There are some obvious signs of rust, but he’s expected to find his rhythm as the season progresses.
The Lakers have been very high on Kuzma over the past two seasons. His impressive play is the main reason why the Purple and Gold refused to include him in any trade last season. After being picked 27th overall back in 2017, Kuz has definitely proven that he’s one of the best players from his draft class.
A lot of talk about the Lakers this season has been about LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Those two superstars are expected to deliver a championship to the city of Los Angeles. But if Kuzma will be able to play the way he did last season, they will definitely have a better chance of winning the title.
Is Kuz the missing piece of what could be a potential ‘Big 3’ in LA? We’ll find out soon enough.