Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma may have won the Rising Stars Challenge MVP on Friday night, but one of his opponents in that game, Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic, got the last laugh, beating him in the first round of the NBA Skills Challenge on Saturday night in Charlotte.
After Ludacris and Karl-Anthony Towns selected Doncic as Kuzma’s first-round opponent by picking random numbers off of the videoboard — yes, that is actually a thing that happened and how they decided — the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night was off to the races.
Kuzma beat Doncic pretty much the whole way through the course, but couldn’t complete the last step — knocking down a 3-pointer — before Doncic drained a triple of his own, eliminating Kuzma in the first round. A fitting way for a member of the Lakers to lose when taking into account the difficulties the purple and gold have had hitting shots from behind the arc all season.
In fairness to Kuzma, Doncic was an unlucky draw for the first round as one of the best players — if not the best — in the entire skills competition, and as a guard playing against a forward, Doncic would’ve heavily favored over Kuzma in any competition involving dribbling, shooting and passing anyway.
Kuzma is now done with All-Star Weekend festivities for the year, and the only member of the Lakers with an event still remaining is LeBron James, who will represent the team in the NBA All-Star Game tomorrow, Sunday night at 5 p.m. PT. We’ll see if Kuzma can complete his stated goal of joining James in the big game next year, but all things considered, he had a pretty good All-Star Weekend for a second-year player.