The Los Angeles Lakers made a trade earlier this week, sending guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the NBA Draft. The Lakers wound up using that pick to select Utah’s Kyle Kuzma. Officially, Brooklyn made the pick and then traded it to Los Angeles.
There had been a number of rumors surrounding the Lakers’ late first round picks, with most assuming that they would either be used in a deal for Indiana Pacers forward Paul George or that they would be combined to move up in the draft. While moves can still be made, trades with picks usually happen before the selection is in, since the team receiving the pick wants to make the pick themselves. Shams Charania of The Vertical broke the news about the pick:
Lakers are selecting Utah's Kyle Kuzma with the No. 27 pick in the NBA Draft, league sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2017
Kuzma, a junior, is a power forward who can stretch the floor a bit as well as pass the ball, something that will be important in the Lakers offense. He needs to work on his three-point shooting, as he his just 32 percent in college, but at least he has a foundation there to work from. Overall, Kuzma put up 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists lasts season for Utah.
At 6’9″, Kuzma will likely spend most of his minutes at power forward, which could be somewhat problematic due to the presence of Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Luol Deng. Still, he could fit the style of play that the Lakers are looking for, and will join Lonzo Ball in being part of the future for Los Angeles. He isn’t Paul George, but Kuzma is an interesting addition to Luke Walton’s offense.