From the moment Kyle Kuzma played his first game at the Las Vegas Summer League, it was apparent that the Los Angeles Lakers had found themselves a steal in the 2017 NBA Draft. Selected 27th overall, the rookie forward has an advanced offensive repertoire for a player of his experience, and it showed immediately.
When Kuzma’s play continued during the preseason and at the outset of the regular season, there were no more questions about his potential as he quickly became a fan favorite. Though his offense has leveled off some from the beginning of the year, Kuzma has made big strides defensively and has the ideal mindset to continue thriving in the league for years to come.
One person who has watched Kuzma grow throughout this season is Spectrum SportsNet analyst James Worthy, who views the rookie as the ideal forward for the new NBA.
“Kuzma is the prototype. Kevin Durant is the prototype,” Worthy said at the Spectrum skills clinic. “There’s not even any bigs on the All-Star ballot anymore.
“You don’t see centers unless they can guard the three or shoot the three. They’ve become almost obsolete. We have one that can hit the three, but you have to be able to go out and guard Durant or Draymond Green, so it’s made the game change a little bit. Kuzma fits right in. He can play two or three positions.”
Worthy makes some valid points in regards to versatility on both ends of the floor being of the utmost importance in today’s NBA. The Golden State Warriors have tons of players interchangeable wings that allow them to switch everything on defense and make them extremely difficult to guard offensively as well.
The Lakers, under head coach Luke Walton, are following that same format. Kuzma has played mostly power forward this season, but with Brandon Ingram sidelined he moved to the small forward spot seamlessly.
With his ability to score inside and out, and guard multiple positions, Kuzma is exactly the type of forward teams are looking for and a big reason why the Lakers’ future is as bright as it is.
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