Since Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma entered the NBA in 2017, he’s shown he’s about getting buckets.
Kuzma, who is heading into his third year in the league, is working to make Team USA at USA Basketball’s training camp in Las Vegas. The Americans are preparing for this summer’s FIBA World Cup, which will be in China. The roster will be cut to 12 players, and it will be announced Aug. 17, per USA Basketball’s website. The FIBA World Cup will begin Aug. 31 and finish Sept. 15.
The team had its first day of camp Monday, and Kuzma showed why he deserves to be there among some of the NBA’s top players. During practice he showed his scoring and shooting ability, pulling up for a jumper with ease.
With Kuzma practicing against elite players in Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, he could elevate his offensive game. Kuzma is going to be one of the Lakers’ key players next season. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, he’ll need to take a step forward for the Lakers to have a chance at winning the title.
That step will especially be needed on the defensive end. In his first two years in the league, Kuzma has proven that he can score. He averaged 18.7 points per game last season and shot 45.6% from the field.
But with the Lakers having championship aspirations, they’ll need more out of Kuzma defensively.
He doesn’t have to be the best defender on the team, but with the league moving toward positionless basketball, Kuzma will likely need to be capable of defending shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and maybe sometimes centers.
With Kuzma getting to compete in Team USA’s training camp, though, playing against top-tier talent should help him improve on the defensive end of the floor.