Midway through the 2017-18 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Isaiah Thomas from the Cleveland Cavaliers and he served as a mentor for Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball.
Thomas unfortunately required season-ending hip surgery after 17 games with the Lakers, but he was the most successful player the young core had played with as a former two-time All-Star (2016, 2017) and All-NBA Second Team member (2017).
Thomas’ time with the Lakers was short-lived as he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Denver Nuggets.
Kuzma reunited with his former teammate by participating in his fifth annual Zeke-End Basketball Tournament in Tacoma, Wash., via BallIsLife:
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 4, 2018
Originally the No. 27 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors after averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 assists.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, Kuzma is looking to take the next step in his development with the arrival of LeBron James in free agency. Throughout the offseason, head coach Luke Walton and the team’s front office have been impressed with the 23-year-old’s work ethic and he showed some flashes at Thomas’ tournament.
Despite the Lakers signing numerous forwards in free agency, Kuzma is still expected to play major minutes. As the coaching staff is intrigued with their own version of Golden State Warriors’ death lineup, the second-year forward will be the perfect compliment alongside James and Ingram in the frontcourt.