As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready for a season with title aspirations, a lot is riding on the development of Kyle Kuzma. The third-year pro is the only holdover from the Lakers’ young core and is expected to be a key contributor on a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Taking a leap in his development would be a huge advantage for the Lakers.
Count Golden State Warriors’ shooting guard Klay Thompson as one of Kuzma’s believers. He spoke to the LA Times’ Arash Markazi about Kuzma’s game:
“He’s perfect for today’s game with his ability to score on the perimeter,” Thompson said. “He’s really like a three-man playing the four. He has to improve his catch-and-shoot ability a little more, obviously playing with LeBron [James] and A.D. [Anthony Davis] now, but I think he’s going to take on that third superstar role and really take off with it. He’s a very hard worker, which is what I like about him.”
Kuzma’s work ethic has been talked about by a lot of his teammates as well and the forward has shown his workout practices all offseason as he continues to train with other NBA players.
Thompson also made a great point about Kuzma’s involvement with Team USA and how it can affect his game moving forward:
“I know him playing for Team USA is going to pay huge dividends for him because that’s what it did for me. … That was the turning point in my career, playing against international superstars. If he goes out there and plays hard and puts the team on his shoulders, that’s going to give him so much confidence coming into this season like it did for myself in 2014.”
Team USA training camps have generally been considered a monumental step for young players and something that can catalyze their rise into stardom. That’s why Kuzma spoke about it as an opportunity he could not let pass him by.
Hearing that praise from an NBA All-Star and champion is a great sign for Kuzma’s progress and position in the league. Now, he has to prove those comments right on the court.