Kyle Kuzma became a late first round diamond in the rough for the Los Angeles Lakers. After receiving the Utah forward in the D’Angelo Russell, who was taken with the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma went onto lead the Lakers in scoring at Summer League and was quickly earmarked as a potential future cog in the young unit.
Kuzma is back in Las Vegas once again as the Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings 75-69 in their annual Las Vegas pre-season match-up. And once again the rookie was on fire, finishing the game with 15 points and eight assists.
After the game I caught up with him for a chat about heading into his rookie season, his work ethic and his noticeable shooting improvement from college to the pros.
Kyle, you’re no stranger to Vegas. You’ve been coming here for Pac-12 tournaments, Summer League and now a pre-season game. What’s been the biggest adjustment going from college, through to Summer League and now an NBA pre-season game for you?
Just knowing how to play. Summer League is a different pace to the pre-season simply because of the level of play, the players and everything. It’s bouncing back and forth but really it’s just the pace, the speed and the strength.
Now your shot has improved from college, hell, even from Summer League to now the shot is almost automatic, your feet are set… What took place there? It wasn’t like that in college and now people expect your shot to drop and when you miss are in shock.
Just my work ethic. In college people said I couldn’t shoot. I knew I was a better shooter than I did in college. I really just tried to be disciplined and focussed on my work ethic and tried to dial in on certain things and that’s really opened up my entire game.
In terms of your development. How much credit does Clint Parks go to that? Because you know you see him on twitter he’s always repping, he’s always saying “hey, that’s my guy, that’s what we’ve been doing I see the 6am workouts”. How much credit does he get for your development?
A lot. It’s not even just the workouts. I’m always constantly talking to him. He does a great job of always staying on me and I think that’s the biggest thing. You have somebody who’s not really kissing your behind and is telling you what you need to improve on every single day definitely helps and helps your mentality.
Last but not least, you’ve got a couple of pre-season games left. What’s the thing you want to work on for yourself and also for the team?
Just keep capitalizing on wins. We’ve been losing for a couple of years. Being Lakers, that’s not the Lakers mentality so if we can just build win-to-win that’s the biggest thing for the team. And for me it’s just finding my pace, finding my shots and get acclimated to the NBA level.