Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma talks upcoming season, Lonzo Ball, Magic, Project Health, and more
The Los Angeles Lakers put on a show during the NBA Summer League back in July with two stars emerging ahead of the 2017-18 NBA season.
Although all the talk and hype in Las Vegas surrounded Lonzo Ball, fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma made a name for himself as he dominated the competition on a nightly basis helping lead the Lakers to a Summer League championship. The Utah product came away with the Sumer League Championship MVP and quickly became a household name among Lakers fans.
With the start of training camp right around the corner for Kuzma, the Lakers rookie took some time out of his schedule to talk to ClutchPoints about the upcoming season as well as his admirable work with CVS Pharmacy for its annual Project Health campaign.
Ryan Ward: So you’re working with CVS Pharmacy to provide free health screenings in Los Angeles as a part of their Project Health campaign. Explain what that entails and how people can get a free screening.
Kyle Kuzma: “It’s pretty much coming into any CVS, and you can get a free screening for your blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and even cholesterol. That’s the main things they have here.”
What motivated you to get involved with CVS Pharmacy and these free screenings?
KK: “Community health. That’s one thing that’s really important to me with me being from Flint, Michigan. We have a lot of water problems the past few years. For me to come out here and try to advocate and use my platform to encourage communities to come together to strive for healthiness is pretty big.”
These free health screenings at CVS Pharmacy locations is supposed to go on for four months, correct?
You made a name for yourself in Las Vegas during the NBA Summer League. What was that experience like?
KK: “It was a great experience being able to play in front of the country allowing people to see my game. You know, just for me to go out there and play the way I did was pretty tremendous. It’s a credit to my work ethic and how hard I work on my game.”
Fellow Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball also made an impression in Las Vegas. What is it like playing with someone that makes everyone on the floor that much better?
KK: “It was good. I like to score the ball, and he likes to pass, so me and him are a good duo because of that. He finds me on the break, and I finish baskets so he can get assists.”
What do you think of the Lakers new state-of-the-art practice facility?
KK: “It’s great. We are in there every single day working hard. It’s pretty cool to have an environment and facility like that to tend to our everyday needs.”
What’s your favorite part of the new practice facility?
KK: “There’s so much. I can’t really put my finger on one thing, but I would definitely say the court. You walk in, and there are two full courts.
“There’s no excuse to get your work in, and you see all the banners that they have hung up there. Larry O’Brien trophies in the window, so it’s a pretty neat environment.”
Do you have a goal for your rookie season with the Lakers?
KK: “I just want to help the team any way I can. I’m not really big on setting goals. I just try to play my hardest. Work my hardest, and where ever that gets me, gets me.”
What has the experience been like being around Magic Johnson as much as you have since you’ve been drafted?
KK: “It’s great. Magic is a legend, so anytime you get an opportunity to talk to a legend like Magic it’s great. He has so much knowledge about the game, and it’s really fun to learn from him.”
Have you had any interaction with Kobe Bryant? Do plan on reaching out to him?
KK: “No. I’m not really sure what Kobe is up to. I haven’t really seen him.”
What have you been working on this summer? What part of your game, in particular, do you want to improve?
KK: “Defense. I want to be a great two-way player in this league, and I think I have the ability to do that. Just getting stronger and keep adding range on my jump shot.”
What position will Luke Walton have you play this season?
KK: “All over the place. I think the Lakers drafted me because of their vision. Coach Walton’s vision of positionless basketball.
“With me being able to just be a basketball player on the floor. Handle the ball a little bit. Shoot it. Pass it. Rebound. Defend bigger guys, smaller guys. So really just all over the floor.”
Are you the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft?
KK: “I mean, everyone calls me that, but that’s yet to be seen. It’s only Summer League. I had a great Summer League, but I have to prove it in the regular season too.
“So ask me that at the end of the year [laughs].”
Do you think the Lakers will make the playoffs this season?
KK: “We’ll see. That’s definitely one goal for us. We’re in the gym working hard every day, and we have a lot of talented pieces, so it’s up to us to come together and win some games now.”
Is there any player or team you’re looking forward to facing this season?
KK: “Not really. I’m just really excited to be in the NBA and being able to play against a lot of great players that I one day want to be like.”
Do you have a favorite teammate on the squad so far since you’ve been playing with the whole group for the most part?
KK: “I wouldn’t say, favorite teammate. I’m really comfortable and cool with everybody. Everybody on the team is the same way. I feel like we have a great culture and great comradery right now.”
For more information on CVS Pharmacy’s Project Health campaign and to learn more about free health screenings: Click here