From relatively unknown to the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kyle Kuzma is prepared to take the next step in his development for the 2018-19 NBA season.
Along with averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds en route to 2018 NBA All-Rookie First Team honors, the 23-year-old played different roles for head coach Luke Walton that will ultimately help his development moving forward.
With Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka wanting to build a team full of tough playmakers, it is one of the things Kuzma worked on during the offseason.
As general manager Rob Pelinka praised Kuzma’s improvement physically, the former No. 27 pick explained he has also added guard skills to his game, via Mike Trudell:
“We’ve worked on a lot of perimeter skills and playing at the three. Last year I played the three and the four, and I’ll probably play (both) this year, but just to develop my game as a perimeter guy. Reading passes. My handling. Just working out as a guard really helps your overall game.”
Despite the Lakers signing LeBron James and multiple wing players in free agency, Kuzma is expected to be the team’s sixth man but play significant minutes. Similar to Lamar Odom, the second-year forward could start for most teams, but he will likely close out games with James playing center in certain situations.
With training camp set to open Tuesday, all eyes will be on Kuzma and the young core. While James is the best player in the game today, he will need the young core to learn on the fly as they not only looking to end the team’s five-year playoff drought but make a deep run.