The Los Angeles Lakers are entering a new era, and most of the attention is currently falling on second overall pick Lonzo Ball. That comes with the territory of being drafted so high, plus Magic Johnson calling him the new face of the Lakers doesn’t exactly slow down the hype train, either. However, Los Angeles actually added four players on draft night, including Kyle Kuzma, who was hoping to end up with the Lakers.
Kuzma, a rangy power forward out of Utah, was taken with the 27th pick, which as obtained from the Brooklyn Nets in the D’Angelo Russell trade. In a piece by Eric Woodyard of mlive.com, Kuzma said it was in his pre-draft workout and interview at the pre-draft combine that he really clicked with the Lakers:
“I worked out for them, had an interview with them at the combine and that was the first team that I got a great vibe from and it paid off,” Kuzma said. “I love the fit and their direction plus living in LA isn’t too bad. I was a Shaq fan growing up.”
Of course, most draftees are going to say positive things about the team that selected them, but still, it’s a good sign that Kuzma is already on board with the direction that Johnson and Rob Pelinka are taking the team in. In fact, Kuzma stated that his preference in the draft was to go to Los Angeles:
“I wanted to be a Laker,” Kuzma said. “We told them, and it happened.”
Kuzma will have his work cut out for him, as the Lakers already have Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Luol Deng all needing minutes at the power forward position.
Still, Kuzma’s combination of solid shooting and the ability to run the floor should make him an intriguing partner for the running-and-gunning Ball.
With Russell lost to the Brooklyn trade, Los Angeles will have to hope that their four rookies really pan out and become part of their core.