Perhaps no Los Angeles Lakers rookie in recent years has embraced high expectations and openly discussed a desire and commitment to becoming a great player in the NBA more than Kyle Kuzma. That approach has led to many comparing him to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
While Kuzma sought out Bryant for dinner last season and a workout session this summer, the opportunity that lies in front of him can’t be understated. The same applies to the rest of the Lakers young core that now gets to play alongside LeBron James.
The game’s best player has already been hard at work leading by example and teaching his new teammates along the way. One such instance involved friendly banter when Kuzma and James were on opposite teams during a scrimmage.
“There was a play today, everybody knew it was game-point,” Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson began to recall while speaking with media.
“We saw him say, ‘I’m about to take Kuz, get to my spot and then I’m going to launch this 3-pointer right in his face.’ Sure enough, he came down, gave him a little fake, and LeBron just pulled it. All net.”
Johnson said general manager Rob Pelinka asked Kuzma why he bit on the fake, which the young forward could only shrug in response to. “That’s the greatness of LeBron,” Johnson added. “He’s going to rub off on Kuzma.”
Johnson previously named Brandon Ingram as the player on the Lakers roster who would likely benefit most from James’ arrival. While it may ultimately hold true, James’ impact is being seen and felt throughout.
“It’s fun how he rallies everybody like a magnet,” Johnson said.