The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup starts on August 31st, as Team USA has started training camp this week in preparation. Although much has been made this summer about some of the biggest stars in the NBA bowing out from the team, there’s still plenty of talent for head coach Gregg Popovich to work with. This first week is all about building chemistry amongst the players who usually compete against each other. The lone Los Angeles Laker currently on the roster is Kyle Kuzma, who will be entering his third year in the league.
Although Kuzma has never played on the same team as any of these players until this moment, he definitely has some friends throughout the roster. None may be closer to Kuzma than Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who was drafted the same year as Kuzma in the 2017 NBA Draft (Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, and Bam Adebayo also join Kuzma and Mitchell from that draft).
Mitchell discussed his personal and professional relationship with Kuzma, saying this:
“We push each other to be better. That relationship allows us to push each other in different ways. Not a lot of friends do that.”
Mitchell was referencing a few things discussed in the OC Register article from Kyle Goon, including how the two both hired a personal chef. Kuzma was the first to that decision, with Mitchell observing and deciding to follow suit. Another cue Mitchell took from Kuzma was how Kuz went straight to working out following an overseas trip, which Mitchell used as inspiration to do the same after returning to the states from a trip.
Other than the fact that Kuzma has one of the best, young guards in the NBA as a close friend, it’s also encouraging that that same young guard is taking notes from Kuzma’s overall lifestyle and work ethic. It’s just another notch in Kuzma’s belt in a summer full of them so far.