Kyle Kuzma continued to show off his overhauled shot during USA Basketball’s 102-86 victory over Australia in an exhibition game played early Thursday morning. The Los Angeles Lakers forward knocked down three of his first four threes in the first quarter to explode out of the gate with 9 points before ultimately finishing with 12 off of the bench.
Kuzma didn’t do a ton else beyond that run to impact the game, ultimately finishing as one of just three players on Team USA with a negative box plus-minus (-2) in the contest, but his ability to get hot at a moment’s notice does still appear to be an asset this team will value, and it’s hard not to think he’s at the very least made a decent case to make the final roster when the team actually begins the 2019 FIBA World Cup early next month.
Kuz finishes with 12/2 and a steal on 4-6 shooting (including one halfcourt heave). C&S stroke looks sweet. Defense generally solid, particularly on ball, had some nice moments on switches on Patty Mills. Had second-most minutes off the bench, feels like he's making the team.— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) August 22, 2019
Overall, Kuz giving off a lot of big wing vibes. His big man help instincts remain rather limited, usually a step slow here. More he can defend on the perimeter, the better and his closeouts were especially good. If he can shoot (and it looks good so far), where he should be.— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) August 22, 2019
Kuzma’s 3-point stroke in the game was also a sight to behold, and something Lakers fans should be crossing their fingers will continue when the NBA season begins, as whether Kuzma makes the final Team USA roster or not, the purple and gold’s offense will be basically unstoppable around LeBron James and Anthony Davis if Kuzma is shooting like this:
USA Basketball still has a few more exhibition games and training sessions to go before beginning the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic in Shanghai, China. Team USA will next play Australia in another exhibition game at 9:00 p.m. PT on Friday before finishing exhibition play with a game against Canada at 2:30 a.m. PT on Monday. Both games can be watched on NBA TV.
You should be able to watch USA Basketball’s full win against Australia below, assuming it doesn’t get taken down by FIBA: