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Kyle Kuzma survives first wave of USA Basketball cuts

Kyle Kuzma will travel with Team USA to Los Angeles after making it through the first roster cuts.

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USA Basketball Men’s National Team - USA White v USA Blue Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Despite not seeing too much playing time in his first outing with USA Basketball on Friday, Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was named one of 17 finalists for the FIBA Basketball World Cup roster on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo and Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young weren’t as lucky and got sent home after the scrimmage on Friday. San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White and last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley III, will fill those two spots after earning a call up from the USA Select Team to the parent team on Friday.

Here are the remaining 17 players following the first wave of cuts:

  1. Harrison Barnes
  2. Marvin Bagley III
  3. Jaylen Brown
  4. De’Aaron Fox
  5. Joe Harris
  6. Kyle Kuzma
  7. Brook Lopez
  8. Kyle Lowry
  9. Khris Middleton
  10. Donovan Mitchell
  11. Mason Plumlee
  12. Marcus Smart
  13. Jayson Tatum
  14. P.J. Tucker
  15. Myles Turner
  16. Kemba Walker
  17. Derrick White

Of those 17 players, three should be of particular interest to Kuzma: Tucker, Barnes and Bagley. Operating under the assumption that former No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum is a lock to make the 12-man World Cup roster, there will only be one or two forward spots available for the four aforementioned players, including Kuzma.

If Kuzma can outperform Tucker, Barnes and Bagley in the remaining exhibition games, he should have no problem making the roster. However, in order to do that, his effort on defense needs to be better, whether that’s at the small forward or power forward position. It’s safe to assume head coach Gregg Popovich already knows what Kuzma brings to the table offensively.

Kuzma and USA Basketball will train at the Lakers’ training facility in El Segundo for the next week before returning to the floor on Friday to take on Spain in an exhibition game.

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