Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma has shown more scoring punch than anyone expected early on in his NBA career, as he’s second in scoring among first-year players with 16 points per game.
Kuzma didn’t get to show all of those skills in the Lakers’ listless 84-83 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night, as he struggled to the tune of 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
But while it wasn’t Kuzma’s best night on the stat sheet, he was still at his best as a trash talker. Kuzma has showed his smack-talking skills to the world by roasting various teammates (mostly Lonzo Ball) on social media all season.
And while mic’d up during the loss to the Kings, he delivered a particularly honest assessment to the Kings about a matchup with fellow rookie Justin Jackson, via the NBA on TNT Twitter account:
.@kylekuzma on Justin Jackson: “Hey, he can’t guard me down there… If he guards me, it’s barbecue chicken. Trust me.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 2, 2018
The Lakers didn’t get the win Sunday, leaving Jackson and the Kings with the last laugh, but it’s hard to not watch Kuzma’s love of talking trash and not think of a certain former player who Kuzma got dinner with earlier this season.
Kuzma obviously isn’t Kobe Bryant yet (and odds are he never will be), but every good team needs a guy to talk smack and rile up their opponents, a la Draymond Green with the Golden State Warriors.
It’s too early to guarantee that Kuzma will fill that role for the next good version of a Lakers team. But as this exchange with Jackson shows, Kuzma certainly has the confidence to deliver some brutal burns without batting an eye, and back it up on the next play to boot.
For a late first round pick who no one knew what to expect from heading into the season, that’s not a bad get for L.A.’s front office.