The only Laker representative for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Cup Training Camp, Kyle Kuzma has survived to the final round of cuts. With 15 players left chasing after 12 roster spots, Kuzma seems to be in a solid position to actually make the team. That said, even if Kuzma doesn’t make the team, he understands that the time spent training alongside some of the best players and coaches in the world is going to be a major factor towards his continued growth in the league.
Kyle Kuzma Shares his Thoughts on USA Basketball Training Camp
Kuzma tossed considerable praise towards legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is serving as the head coach of Team USA. While Kuzma says they haven’t discussed anything Lakers-Spurs related, Popovich’s legendary defensive mind should be able to leave Kuzma with some new tricks on that side of the ball. Also citing the way Popovich carries himself, prepares for games, and has a genuine enthusiasm for the sport itself – it seems Kuzma is trying to pick up on the little things that set Coach Pop apart.
Kuzma also talked about how he has attempted to tweak his jump-shot slightly this offseason. While not a major overhaul, Kuzma says he has put an emphasis on a higher release point as well as his follow-through. Kuzma showed the ability to be at least a league-average shooter in his rookie year and his jumper didn’t look busted through his first two seasons, so likely a small adjustment is all Kuzma needs in order to start knocking down shots at a higher clip. We’ll see how Kuzma’s shot develops as we get a larger sample size moving forward but things have looked promising so far in USA Basketball camp.
Interestingly, Kuzma brought up Carmelo Anthony as one of the most notable players he grew up watching on previous USA Basketball teams. Kuzma and Carmelo were spotted working out together recently and Kuzma has repeatedly thrown public praise Carmelo’s way over the course of the summer. While the Lakers’ training camp roster is filled as of now, they still have a guaranteed NBA contract at their disposal and Melo is still searching for a team willing to give him another shot.
Lakers Trying To Make Playoffs For First Time Since 2013
While the Lakers still sit in second place for All-Time NBA titles with 16, the franchise hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 2013. After a disappointing year in LeBron’s first go-round with the Lakers, the purple and gold have added a number of new faces in the hopes of finally not only getting back to the playoffs but making a serious run at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
In a loaded Western Conference, things won’t be easy as the Lakers get the pleasure of facing off with teams like the Warriors, Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets, and Rockets on a near-nightly basis. That said, the Lakers’ superstar duo of James and Davis (possibly a trio if Boogie returns to form) looks to be more than well-equipped to handle anything the league throws their way.