…andon Ingram as the team’s future clutch closer and Lonzo Ball as the future face of the franchise, it was Kyle Kuzma that Kobe Bryant elected to take out to dinner and Kyle Kuzma whom he believes has the elite scorer’s skillset and mindset to earn the right to take over the reins as the Lakers’ go-to scorer and game closer.
I’ve been trying to think about who Kuzma most resembles. I didn’t know about the dinner meeting, but Kuzma’s confidence to take big shots, his amazing footwork and his wide variety of shots around the basket is definitely like Kobe. But his accuracy from distance is something way beyond the Mamba. Also, he doesn’t hold onto the ball for any length of time. He either shoots, makes a move and penetrates, or passes it almost immediately. Not to be a Laker homer, but I ranked him the best offensive player in my mid-season ROY breakdown.
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Thinking about how he wasn’t a highly touted college player, or being praised as the next big thing, there is a different kind of fire in Kuzma. He’s got a chip on his shoulder like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Kobe was always talking about embracing a certain amount of darkness or fan hatred to keep him motivated, while Kuzma has a more low-key killer instinct like Durant.
Let’s hope his path takes him on a similar journey to these all-time greats.