The summer of Kyle Kuzma rolls on despite the Lakers’ forward being forced to miss an appearance in the FIBA World Cup due to a minor ankle injury. First taking the stage at the NBA Draft lottery and leading the Lakers to an unlikley jump up to the fourth pick, Kuzma also was the only young player who survived the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade. With an extended stay at USA Basketball training camp and numerous workout clips populating the internet, Kuzma has kept himself busy – and in the spotlight – throughout the 2019 offseason.
Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma Tries to Convince Kid That He’s Actually Kyle Kuzma at Basketball Camp
At Kyle Kuzma’s own basketball camp, Kuzma struggled to convince one of the campers just who exactly he really was. At first asking Kuzma if he was taller than Kyle Kuzma, the camper would go on to ask him if he worked for Kuzma before repeatedly asking Kyle Kuzma, “where Kyle Kuzma at?”. All the while Kuzma tries – and fails – to plead his case to the skeptical camper.
Things get even funnier when another pair of counselors team up to convince the camper that one of them is Kuzma. With one of them wearing a Lakers’ warmup jacket, the camper instantly believed him – forcing a frustrated Kuzma to spike his basketball.
The fact that this all went down at his own basketball camp – where his picture was quite literally on the wall behind him – makes the case of mistaken identity all that more funny.
Kyle Kuzma’s Absence From USA Basketball a Factor in Early Exit
Suffering an ankle injury at the end of USA Basketball camp for the FIBA World Cup, Kuzma was the last man out for the FIBA World Cup roster. Figuring to play a prominent role on the notoriously underperforming squad, Kuzma heled offer some much needed forward depth as well as a scoring punch.
Without Kuzma in the lineup, USA Basketball struggled to create their own shots and if Kemba Walker went quiet, the rest of the offense typically followed suit. Kuzma hadn’t been entrusted with a major role in any of the exhibitions so far, yet showcased an ability to score at all three levels and create his own looks at the rim in the limited showings we got before his injury. Instead, the offense was forced to lean heavily on Kemba, even on nights where he simply didn’t have it, like on the night of their early exit.
With Kuzma’s versatility, scoring, and improved defense, USA Basketball would likely have stood a much better shot at getting past France in the quarterfinals. While the lack of consistent play from their big men would have still be an overarching issue, Kuzma’s scoring punch would have helped to make up for that slightly.
USA Basketball suffered a second consecutive defeat at the hands of Nikola Jokic and Serbia in their first consolation game and now face Poland in a matchup for the seventh place game at the FIBA World Cup.