On Tuesday the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics to win their seventh game in nine contests, showing some serious promise against one of the NBA’s top teams. The next day, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram were all named to the US roster for the Rising Stars Challenge.
All three players were obvious choices as each has made their mark this season. Kuzma is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, Ball is a First Team All-Rookie candidate, and Ingram has made a huge leap in his second season.
Head coach Luke Walton was happy for his young players and for what it means about franchise as a whole. “Awesome, I love it, they all deserve it,” Walton said after Thursday’s practice. “I think it shows that we’ve got a nice, bright future here in L.A. with those guys being a big part of it.”
The Lakers have big plans for the summer in luring some big names and the growth of this young core is a big part of that.
The play of Kuzma has been one of the biggest surprises in the entire league. His confidence and mindset has been talked about recently and that chip on his shoulder was on full display despite accomplishing one of his goals.
“Growing up I always wanted to play on All-Star Weekend and now it’s here,” Kuzma said. “It’s pretty cool. A good feeling, and I’m not necessarily supposed to be here.”
Of the 20 players on both rosters, only Memphis’ Dillon Brooks and Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon were drafted in a spot after Kuzma. Regardless of that, he has risen up the ranks and is certainly a player to watch moving forward.
The trio of Ingram, Lonzo, and himself is a promising one and as Luke said, the future of this team is bright.
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