Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball might have gotten more attention, but his fellow first-rounder Kyle Kuzma was definitively the breakout star of Las Vegas Summer League. Ball was awesome, but more is expected from No. 2 picks than No. 27 ones, and Kuzma showed FAR more than the average player taken at the latter spot.
Kuzma averaged 21.8 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and an astonishing 48 percent on threes, with signs of promising defensive potential to boot. Kuzma’s leakouts make him the perfect weapon for Lonzo Ball in transition, and his combination of shooting ability, passing skills and knack for putting the ball on the floor when defenses close out too hard should make him an offensive weapon for years to come if they translate to actual NBA games. He also demonstrated the ability to defend both smaller and larger players in a variety of lineups.
We don’t know what Kuzma’s package of skills will look like in the NBA yet, but his run through summer league — culminating in a Finals MVP — offered a tantalizing preview of a player who could be an above-average to very good contributor to the Lakers for years to come.
Kuzma isn’t without his flaws (and they’re covered in the videos below as well), but Pete Zayas of Laker Film Room put out two excellent breakdowns this week showcasing everything Kuzma brings to the table.
There won’t be any actual basketball to watch for quite a while, so these 20+ minutes of film can hopefully serve as a hoops oasis in our current desert of NBA news. Enjoy:
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.