There is a lot of buzz around the Los Angeles Lakers going into next season after they went and signed arguably the greatest player alive in LeBron James this summer. However, there is just as much excitement as there was before about the team’s young core, namely with Kyle Kuzma, who looked like a rising offensive star in his rookie season.
Through 77 regular season games, Kuzma became the first rookie in NBA history to rack up at least 1,200 points, 450 rebounds and 150 threes. Per Lakers MR, Kobe Bryant is the only other player to match those tallies while wearing a Lakers uniform.
Kuzma and Bryant have ties beyond that, though. Early in the 2017-18 season, Kuzma and Bryant had dinner. Since then, the 23-year old has said he and the Mamba talk “a lot.”
They even linked up for a private workout this summer, Bryant revealed in an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
“A lot of the players reach out when they want to come out and work out and do some things like that, so I have guys that come down and I work with them ... Jayson Tatum’s been down, Kuzma’s been down. I have a couple more in the books coming down later in the summer,” Bryant said.
How did Kuzma look during the workout, according to Bryant?
“Dude, he looks great, man. He’s got good rhythm, he has the ability do disassociate movements, which gives him a fluidity when he plays. But he can shoot the ball, he’s worked on his midrange game a lot, post up game looks strong so I’m looking forward to him having a good year.”
Unlike Tatum, Kuzma didn’t give fans and inside look at his workout with Bryant, which makes one wonder if they have worked out together on multiple occasions. Whatever the case is, Bryant sounds impressed with what he’s seen from Kuzma offensively so far.
But offense has never been an issue with Kuzma. In order to make a meaningful leap next season, Kuzma’s also going to have improve defensively. Hopefully that was something Bryant, a 12-time All-Defensive team-er, and Kuzma addressed during their workout.
Just a few more months, guys.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.