Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma burst on to everyone’s radar at the Las Vegas Summer League. No one was quite sure what to expect from the 27th overall pick, but he flashed a ton of potential on his way to winning Summer League Championship MVP.
Something that really stood out for Kuzma was his shooting. While he flashed the ability to stretch the floor some during his time at Utah, he was at another level in Vegas, shooting 48 percent from deep after being a 30 percent three-point shooter in college.
Lakers director of scouting and assistant GM Jesse Buss recently sat down with reporter Mike Trudell to talk about Kuzma. Buss noted that Kuzma first showed shooting improvements at the Chicago pre-draft camp and that continued when he came to L.A. to work out for the Lakers:
“When he came here to work out for us it was more of the same. We were pretty confident in the way his stroke looked and how he was hitting shots at his workout that he was going to project to be a pretty good shooter. Hopefully he’s able to keep that up. It’s a crazy number to shoot 48 percent (in Vegas), but he’s a hard worker, a good kid and he embodies what we’re trying to build here culture wise”
A couple of workouts is a small sample size when compared to three years in college however, but Buss explained why the Lakers believed Kuzma’s shooting would improve:
“His mechanics. They were pretty solid. We were pretty confident from the coaching staff through the scouting staff that he should and could become a better shooter. He does have to put in the work, though.”
So far the Lakers look like geniuses for taking Kuzma, who they actually had rated much higher on their draft board. He won’t be shooting 48 percent from deep, but being an above average shooter will give the Lakers something they don’t have at his position.
Kuzma still has to show that he can play at a high level once the real games start, but he has all the tools to become the Lakers latest NBA draft steal.