The Los Angeles Lakers participated in their first scrimmage as a team on Wednesday, and while everyone was reluctant to name any one player that stood out, a few names slipped through the cracks, including Kyle Kuzma, who was a hot topic following practice.
JaVale McGee was the first to mention Kuzma’s name when discussing the players that impressed him during the team’s scrimmage.
“Definitely Kuz, BI (Brandon Ingram), I mean they’re all hard workers so you can just see it out there,” McGee said.
While Kuzma and McGee are new teammates, they share a bond that goes beyond basketball, as they both grew up in Flint, Michigan. To some that might not mean anything, but to McGee, he sees the Michigan influence in the way Kuzma plays.
“I just see that Michigan heart in him,” McGee said. “You can just tell that all the players from Michigan we just go hard, and we don’t care about nothing else outside of basketball.
“We go hard, and you can just see that in him.”
But McGee isn’t the only one that sent praise Kuzma’s way on Wednesday. LeBron James also talked about the noticeable progression Kuzma made this summer, saying he’s on track to make a big leap this season.
“I think he [took the first step] this summer. He didn’t rejoice and be happy and satisfied with his rookie season. I think you guys saw it,” James said. “He came back stronger and faster, more explosive.”
Kuzma was easily one of the brightest spots on the Lakers last season. He’ll find it harder to stand out on a team that now features James and a third-year version of Brandon Ingram, but he’s still expected to be a key cog in head Luke Walton’s rotation.
Expectations will be exponentially higher for the 23-year-old heading into his highly anticipated sophomore season, but if Kuzma showed anyone anything last season, it’s that he has no problem shattering expectations.
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