Kyle Kuzma has an opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup and he isn’t going to let it pass him by.
Slipping to the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma has proven time and again that most of the teams who passed on him made a mistake.
Now, Kuzma will compete with several other players from the 2017 NBA draft class — including De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Taytum — for the right to wear the red, white, and blue. On this episode of the Lakers Nation News Feed, host Trevor Lane takes a look at what Kuzma needs to do in order to earn a spot on the team.
It has to be noted that many of the top players in the league including James Harden, Damian Lillard, and Anthony Davis dropped out of consideration for the team, choosing instead to spend time stateside preparing for the 2019-20 NBA season. This exodus opened a window for Kuzma and others who would have been unlikely to make the final roster to have a real shot.
From the Lakers perspective, Kuzma’s inclusion on the roster is a chance for him to grow as a player and fine-tune his game prior to the start of 2019 NBA training camp. After a dismal shooting season that saw him drop from a 37% three-point shooter all the way down to 30%, playing full-speed against top-level competition might help Kuzma hit the ground running after he has already spent much of his summer working on his jumper.
Moreover, for Kuzma, the opportunity to show once again that he isn’t someone teams should overlook will be critical. On a Lakers team featuring Davis and LeBron James, the pressure will be on Kuzma to step up and become the team’s de facto third All-Star player and making Team USA would be a great way to continue the journey down that path.