Welcome to the Lakers Nation news feed.
My name is Trevor Lane, senior writer for lakers nation dot com.
Today we're talking about Kyle Kuzma, the sole survivor, the last man standing, the guy who did not get traded in the Anthony Davis deal.
And look, let's face it, the Lakers were gonna need him to be big this season.
They didn't get quite Leonard.
They're gonna need Cruise to step up and really become that third stars.
We're gonna talk about him and Team USA that's getting ready, compete and actually make this squatter.
We're gonna be talking about what he needs to do to make that team and why it would be a really good thing for the Lakers if he does.
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All right, so team USA has had some issues.
They're getting ready for the feeble World Cup.
And the big problem is everybody has dropped out.
All the big stars. I'm talking.
James Harden, Damian Lillard.
The Lakers own Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal.
The list goes on and on and on of big stars who have dropped out of Team USA because they want well, they say any way they want to focus on the N B a season.
Look, the feeble Roll Cup is going to be running through mid September.
It's gonna be cutting it really close to MBA training camp. Starting up.
There's just not a lot of time there, So I get why some of these stars wouldn't be too thrilled, especially when they've got to take a trip overseas in order to participate.
However, all these guys dropping out makes Cow Kuzma an interesting piece to perhaps stick around.
Look, when he was added to the list, most people thought, Okay, well, he's guy that'll come in, get used to the Team USA system a little bit, and then they wind up cutting him and they'll keep some of the star players around.
But But who knows? Maybe Koosman down the line earned the spot.
Well, now that all these guys have dropped out, we could see Kyle Kuzma really go and compete for the feeble World Cup here.
So could be a very, very good thing for him.
Could be a great experience.
You had a lot of guys dropping out, said They just want to focus on family or focus on whatever focused on getting ready for the NBA season.
Kyle Kuzma, according Thio, ESPN after the UH, practice that they had today, said, I just want to be a great player.
I don't like to sit out.
I like to play basketball.
So for me to have an opportunity to play for USA Basketball and have a chance to go and win a medal, you can't beat that.
You got to love that.
All these guys are saying No, I don't wanna play.
I want my time, all that kind of stuff.
Karl Kruse, Mrs say it's basketball.
Give me the ball, I wanna play.
You know, he's mentioned before that He wasn't highly touted out of high school.
He wasn't this highly recruited prospect, so he wasn't even supposed to be there, so he really he was really enjoying the process, enjoying getting to be there around all these top guys that were ranked ahead of him when he's coming out of high school ranked ahead of him in the n b A draft.
And yet here he is.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with them shows just how great of a picky was for the Lakers at 27 a few years back.
So uh, who's was asked before we dive into the roster and what he needs to do to make it? Cruz was asked about what he has been improving, where he's looking to improve this summer with Team USA.
Not surprisingly, he said, I'm looking to improve a little bit of everything.
I'm not a position player.
I believe I'm position list and I'm a basketball player.
So I tried to do everything.
Look, that's a standard Kyle Kuzma answer.
That's what he says.
He he sees himself as a guy who doesn't particularly have a particular position, which is perfect for the modern N B A.
This is exactly what you want to hear out of a wing like Kyle Kuzma.
He's a guy who could float between the three of the four.
The Lakers even tried him at the five a little bit last season.
Didn't work out that well, but he's big enough to do some damage on the inside.
Can guard perimeter players.
It's that versatility, even even put the ball on the floor and take guys off the bounce.
These are the kind of guys that are all the rage right now in the n B A.
So this is exactly what you want to hear, Kakuma saying. Now.
That, said Lakers fans, I know we're probably all screaming the same thing you're shooting.
That's what fans want you working on.
Because as a rookie, Guzman hit 37% from three as a sophomore last season, just 30% and a lot of those looks were wide open.
I'm talking about no one near him and he still wasn't converting.
He really struggled and look.
He did recognize that He did say that his shooting need to come around and it's something he's been working on all summer.
It's something he's been working on with course.
Legal shooter cousin has been working on getting his shot back in order.
And in fact, there was a clip.
It was just one clip that came out of practice today, and I'll give you guys a quick look at it here.
That shows Koosman pulling up for a jumper and it's pretty.
If you watch Cosmos form, he's on balance.
He's got a high set point.
Looks like he's tweeted, shot just a little bit.
Everything looks like the way you would want it, too.
So hopefully we're going to see that 37% and maybe up if you dare.
We dream from three Kyle Kuzma that we saw his rookie year and not the 30% last year, because that was really a big thing that was holding him back from making a leap as an N b A player and hitting that next level on the Lakers again.
They're really gonna need him to hit that level this season.
This is a team with LeBron James and Anthony.
Davis wants to contend for a championship, So if Cruz was going to get this experience playing against high level competition and he's really going to be locked in to start the end season because he's not just playing in these kind of random pickup games will be playing in high level competition right before Lakers training camp.
If he's gonna make this team, he's gonna have to beat out some very, very tough players.
This is the list right now.
This is who is is competing for 12 roster spots there.
16 guys of the guards you've got Kevin Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Marcus Smart and Deer and Fox on the wings.
These are the guys Cozma's competing with directly.
Chris Middleton, Jason Tatum, Jalen Brown, Harrison Barnes that is young.
And, of course, Count Koosman.
Mason Plumlee, Bam on a bio.
Brook Lopez, Myles Turner, P.
So that's the group right now. Yeah, I know.
Not a lot of big names.
Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry are probably the biggest names that are actually going Kevin Walker, the only one who made all N B A last season.
A lot of people are out.
A lot of guys have dropped out.
This is probably one of the weakest Team USA is we've seen put together in quite a while, so it's gonna be really interesting to see how these guys come together.
If they play together as a team, the talent is still there. Toe win.
But the risk of them, perhaps losing if they can't iron out all of their wrinkles is really there.
So this is a team that's gonna have to gel on the floor and in order to get the job done, But back to our boy, who's well, what does he need to do? So he's gotta beat out for these guys.
And I'll tell you what, The way this breaks down actually isn't that bad for him.
Because if you go back to 2016 and you look at the group that was brought to the Olympics in 2016 look, they only took three.
Biggs, that was it.
And those three Biggs were DeMarcus cousins, who is now a Laker, DeAndre Jordan and Draymond Green and Draymond.
Green, of course, can switch between a wing position of power forward and being a A center.
So with that being the case, the true big the back to the basket center.
That's not a guy that you need so much an international play, Okay, and speaking of which I need to throw in that couch.
Cosmo has been working out with Carmelo Anthony.
We talked about that on a previous show when we were discussing whether or not Mellow would be a good fit with the Lakers and Cal Kuzma is, they think, the perfect guy to work out with.
Because Carmelo Anthony is probably the best fever player that we've seen from the N B A.
At least the guy that makes the biggest jump between being an MBA player and being a feeble player was just perfectly suited to a skill set.
I think it's really well suited.
Feeble play is for Kyle Kuzma as well, especially if you see him as more of a four, which I do, especially in Cuba.
But these bigs, as far as the true Biggs Mason Plumlee, Bam Brook Lopez, I think, makes a lot of sense because of his outside shooting.
Miles Turner can shoot the ball a little bit as well.
Maybe he makes some sense.
Tucker I don't see him is really a true big eyed included more on the wing list, but here I've got him with the bigs.
I guess you could throw him in there, but it's a little bit of a stretch.
Bottom line, though, is I don't see them taking Plumlee, Bam, Brook, Lopez, Turner and Tucker.
All of those guys.
In fact, I think that at least two, maybe even three of those guys don't wind up going.
And, of course, we can guess who may not go look feeble.
Play can be a little bit weird.
Kenneth Faried was really, really good in Feb a few years ago, and then he kind of sputtered out in the end.
Sometimes guys just performed better.
They're just like Carmelo Anthony did a CZ First.
The guards go look in 2016 at the Olympics.
The N ba the NBA team, The team.
You would say they only took two point guards. That was it.
It was Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry.
Look, Kyle Lowry's lock.
Okay, he's got experience.
He's going, No question there as long as he's healthy.
He's a lock again, the only guy to Macon all n b a team.
But after that, Marcus Smart.
Does he go? Can he shoot well enough from outside? Is he able to do that at the feeble level and Will his defense keep him around? I don't know.
Maybe that's one.
Get that gets cut, dear and Fox.
More of a true point guard very, very fast.
But is his outside shooting truly locked in enough at this level? I liked your inbox a lot, but does he wind up making this team? Or does this team, which is now coached by Gregg Popovich, who, by the way, Cruz was, said Gregg Popovich, is his favorite coach of all time? Nice job.
Who's throwing a big compliment at the guy who is going to be picking the team in just a couple of weeks here? Just about a week.
Actually, it'll be picking the team.
But if you look at this, will Team USA once again go really heavy on the wings? Back in 2016 they brought eight wing players Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes, Clay Thompson, Paul George, Martin Rosen, Jimmy Butler.
That's that's a solid group there.
Hey, you've got a number of wing players that they're bringing and they went heavy on that, knowing that most of the time you're not gonna run a big bruising power forward, you're gonna run a swing man a wing player as your four because that's what feeble play is more all about.
You can get away with that, especially when you're putting n b A guys up against some of these international players.
So with that being the case, could Cosmo wind up sneaking in and some of these guards wind up getting cut again? I'd love to see deer in Fox go.
I'd love to see Marcus Smart go Donovan Mitchell go.
But if they're not a great fit, I think that's one of things great Popovich is gonna be looking at.
Do you leave them behind? Do you count on some of your guards that you've got out there toe handle the ball in a pinch, Pay a guy like a Chris Middleton? Can he handle the ball well enough to be a secondary initiator, Harrison Barnes.
I think he's probably a lot to go because he's got experience at this level.
Koosman to me with his versatility, and if his shot is really coming around, it's gonna be hard to leave him behind because he can play multiple roles and I think that's gonna be something really important for Team USA and something like we saw in 2016 has worked well in the past, having these versatile wing's having a lot of them and be able to spread them out all over the floor.
Occasionally you go small.
You don't even run a true big and you wind up running someone like Well, I mean, you could run Kyle Kuzma even as the center, maybe a fatty, is young.
Sneaks in there All the person I think I would.
I think Kuzma has a better shot of making it and say at that young at this point, Jason Tatum's an interesting condition.
There didn't shoot that well in the n b A last season, but certainly a talented player.
Chris Middleton. I think he's pretty much a lock use.
It all started last season.
Super versatile, great defender can do a lot of things out there, so he probably makes it.
But again, can Koosman beat out a guy like Jalen Brown who shot has been kind of iffy and just like Kosmas, Maybe can that I think is gonna be the real competition.
I think you're going to see a few of the bigs go.
I think a few of the guards you're gonna go as well and then of the Wings.
I think the guys that Cosmo is gonna have to really step up against our Celtics, Jalen Brown and Jason Tatum, which is perfect, really.
That's just that's the universe inserting itself into the Team USA basketball discussion here because it may very well come down to a Laker or a couple of Celtics players.
And that almost worries me a little bit because we know that Gregg Popovich is not too far to the Lakers.
But we'd have to hope that.
You know he doesn't hold a grudge when it comes to Team USA Basketball.
All right, guys.
So look, the big thing here is Karl Kruse, but could get some wonderful experience here, so we gotta be rooting for him to make the team.
Hopefully, he does, because this could be a great way for him to be ready to go at the start of training.
Take training camp.
He's gonna be locked in and ready to get going with this Lakers team.
This will be a great experience for him.
And when he's not gonna forget and if he can get locked in with Team USA now Maybe you can see him playing in the Olympics.
That would be something that'll be pretty incredible.
For a guy who wasn't highly touted, who fell to the 27th pick in the NBA draft to work his way, all the way up to that level would be a really cool thing for Count Koosman.
All right, guys, until next time, make sure you had over two.
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