Kyle Kuzma (born July 24, 1995) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Kuzma played college basketball for the University of Utah before entering the NBA.
|No. 0 – Los Angeles Lakers|
July 24, 1995 |
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school||Bentley (Burton, Michigan)|
|NBA draft||2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Brooklyn Nets|
|2017–present||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kuzma attended Swartz Creek Community Schools then transferred to Bentley High School in Michigan where he averaged 17.9 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.4 blocks per game as a junior. Kuzma sent tapes of his shooting at the YMCA to prep schools, catching the eye of Vin Sparacio, then the head coach at Rise Academy in Philadelphia. Sparacio saw a 6'6", 175-pound, raw player who had a great feel for the game, and immediately brought him in.
He ended his senior season averaging 22 points and 7 rebounds and receiving calls from Division I schools. Offers came in from Connecticut, Iowa State, Tennessee, and Missouri, among others, before Kuzma decided on Utah.
Kuzma enrolled at the University of Utah in 2013. He redshirted his freshman year due to the fact that he signed late. His college career featured double-digit scoring averages as a sophomore and junior, pouring in 16.4 points per game in his final year with the Utes, while pulling down 9.3 rebounds and handing out 2.4 assists a contest. For his efforts, he was recognized with 2017 All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
After the conclusion of the 2016–17 season, Kuzma announced to forgo his senior year to enter the 2017 NBA draft. It was revealed by his skills trainer, Norman Inocencio, that Kuzma has graduated from college before entering the draft.
On June 22, 2017, Kuzma was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Brooklyn Nets. On June 22, 2017, Kuzma was traded, along with Brook Lopez, to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. On July 3, 2017, Kuzma signed his rookie scale contract with the Lakers.
During the seven out of eight games he played for the Lakers (starting in six of the games) in the 2017 NBA Summer League, Kuzma led the team in points scored and became a consistent presence during the event. He recorded averages of 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game and was named to the All-Summer League Second Team that year. He was also named the Summer League Championship Game MVP after recording a double-double of 30 points and 10 rebounds in a 110–98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the championship match.
On November 3, 2017, in his first game as a starter, he notched his first double-double, with 21 points and 13 rebounds, in a 124–112 win over the Brooklyn Nets. On November 15, 2017, he scored a career high 24 points, along with 7 rebounds in a 115–109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Kuzma also shot a healthy 9/18 from the field.
Kuzma described growing up in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, “as a really violent place and there’s a lot of temptation to get into the streets.” However, Kuzma saw basketball as a “safe haven”. Kuzma's parents put a small Fisher-Price basketball rim in the living room for him when he was only two years old, thus igniting his passion for basketball.