Kyle Kuzma probably knows he faces an uphill battle to end up on the Los Angeles Lakers roster, but after working out for the team’s front office Monday he couldn’t hide his enthusiasm at the prospect of wearing purple and gold on a permanent basis.
“I used to love watching the Lakers growing up with Shaq[uille O’Neal] and Robert Horry and all those guys, and of course Kobe [Bryant]. Being a Laker would be awesome for sure,” Kuzma told reporters following the Lakers’ first official pre-draft workout.
Kuzma will have to beat the odds if he wants end up in Los Angeles. As the 44th ranked prospect in Draft Express’ top-100 2017 NBA Draft prospects following a junior season that saw the forward average 16.3 points and nine rebounds for Utah, Kuzma would either have to hope he impressed the Lakers enough to jump up to their 28th overall selection, or for the team to buy a pick in the second-round like they did with Jordan Clarkson a few years ago.
Should Kuzma go undrafted, he could also potentially end up on the Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League roster.
Chances are better than not that Kuzma ends up elsewhere, but his excitement was a fun reminder of how much of a dream come true it is for most of these players just to get the chance to work out for NBA teams.
Kyle Kuzma, on Magic Johnson: "That's one of the people I grew up idolizing. He's from Michigan and I'm from Michigan, too." #Lakers— Robert Morales (@RMoralesPT) May 22, 2017
All stats per Draft Express. All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com (where you can watch all of Kuzma’s interview). Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.