Kyle Kuzma burst onto Los Angeles Lakers fans’ radars with a superlative showing in Las Vegas Summer League. The No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft averaged 21.9 points per game while shooting 48 percent from 3-point range and snatching 6.4 rebounds per game to help lead the Lakers to their first ever summer league championship.
Kuzma was rewarded for his efforts by making the All-NBA Summer League second team and winning the finals MVP award, and it would appear the rest of the NBA community is beginning to take notice of the confident rookie. However, each time he was asked about various attention or accolades he was receiving during summer league, Kuzma demurred, saying that the only thing that really mattered to him was winning.
It was a mindset that apparently impressed Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who has some experience brushing off haters in an effort to win a title:
Oh yea "you can call me anything but don't forget to call me an MVP and a champ"-Kuzma— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) July 19, 2017
I feel u my g
Kuzma appreciated the shout out:
July 19, 2017
The Lakers front office has spent all offseason talking about how they want winners, and they certainly seem to have acquired one in Kuzma. How good of an NBA player he ultimately turns into is still an open question, but if he never reaches the full potential he flashed in Las Vegas, his work ethic and winning mindset guarantees it won’t be because he didn’t train hard enough.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.