Lakers Acquire Kyle Kuzma at No. 27

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

The Lakers brought in one of the Pac-12’s best scorers and rebounders at No. 27 in Thursday’s draft, as they received Kyle Kuzma in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

Kuzma put up 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds — both of which ranked in his conference’s top five — during his last season at Utah.

With a 7-foot wingspan at 6-foot-9 and 221 pounds, Kuzma touts strong physical measurements to go a long with his fluid transition play.

He also showed his potential as a playmaker at the power forward spot, averaging 2.4 assists and flashing some ball-handling capabilities.

“I think I can bring to the NBA versatility,” Kuzma said at his Lakers workout on May 22. “I feel like the league is going toward four men that can pass, dribble, shoot, rebound, defend. I think I can do all that and bring that to the table at the highest level.”

The 21-year-old boosted his stock at the NBA Combine, when he went off for 20 points in as many minutes.

The key to that performance is the same to his career in the NBA, as he hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range at the Combine.

He shot 32.1 percent from long distance in his last season with the Utes, but his form is pure enough to suggest that he can hit at a better clip.

Should he be able to improve that mark, he can unlock his potential as a stretch four in the NBA.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka feels that Kuzma's ability to play several positions and compete on defense will serve the Lakers well.

“He just has a grit to him,” Pelinka said. “I think he’s going to be a great two-way player.”

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