Trevor Lane here, senior writer for lakers nation dot com.
And this is the Lakers nation news feed.
Today we're talking.
Kyle Kuzma just had his US A basketball scrimmage.
The blue team versus the white team was a lot of fun.
We're going to talk all about that, plus Cozma's comments to Sham strontium of the athletic about being the Lakersthird star.
Can he do it? We'll talk all about that in just a moment.
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So Kyle Kuzma, Look, there was some great things out of the team.
U S A scrimmage.
Unfortunately, there just wasn't a ton of time coach Greg Popovich on Lee played Koosman well.
Less than 10 minutes out there on the floor.
Didn't get to do Ah whole heck of a lot, but we still saw some good highlights there in Las Vegas.
He had seven points and four boards in less than 10 minutes.
He did hit a nice three, which you know, look, look, we've been hearing about all the shooting we've been hearing about him working on his stroke and they look good, right? The one shot that he took? There was another shot earlier in the game that was kicked out to the corner. Three.
He turned down the shot, put the ball on the floor and then turned it over.
That didn't look good, looked a lot better on Koosman, didn't hesitate, just went and fired up.
The three banged in in no problems.
The form looks good.
Hopefully, that's something that will carry over to the regular season for the Lakers, and we'll talk a bit more about his shooting in just a minute.
Defensively, I thought he did just find there.
He did pretty well, man demand.
He tried to stand his man up a few times in the post, just putting arms straight up and making himself Bigas.
He possibly good thought he had a few opportunities to help out, as as a weak side help defender didn't take those opportunities.
But that might be a scheme thing more than anything else, more than account.
Koosman thing could just be a preference.
The coaching staff had there will have to hear from them to find out for sure.
The other thing that I really liked about his game was the rebounding four boards.
He was really active on the glass.
It looked like that was something that was a focal point for him was to really go and hit the boards.
And then I liked how quick he was to turn and push the ball in transition.
He wanted to get the fastbreak started that some of the Team USA could really use.
And that's something that the Lakers can use a guy who can grab and go in Cal Koosman.
I can certainly do that because he's versatile enough to rebound the basketball and then have the ball handling skills to push himself.
He doesn't have to find a point guard every single time up the floor.
So that's gonna be a realized thing for the Lakers.
If he continues doing that, you know, Look, who's his big play was that Donkey had a cutting dunk where he drove to the basket.
Believe you to be defended by Marvin Bagley.
Did you realize job recognizing the mismatch and then just burned him off the balance? I mean, look, nobody can even stick with him on.
That was really nice seeing that kind of explosiveness from Kyle Kuzma gonna be important that he can keep that going heading into the Lakers season.
But again, we're talking about the tiniest of tiny samples eyes, not even 10 minutes a court time.
So hopefully we'll get to Seymour against Cal Cosmo and Team USA takes on Spain next week.
Right now, though, we got just a few little glimpses of him.
So not a whole lot to go off of there, however, uh, look great quotes coming out of college.
Koosman from Kyle Kuzma coming from Post Team USA practices.
He told Shawn's training of the athletic.
My motivation is there to be that third guy for the simple fact that playing with LeBron with a D.
I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career, so that's motivation in itself.
It's a testament to a work ethic and laying down the groundwork for my past two years in being in the league.
So Kyle Kuzma he's saying he wants to be the third star.
The Lakers didn't get Kawai Leonard Kosmas saying, That's gonna be me.
I want to step up and be the third piece for the Lakers.
That is what you want to hear if you are a Lakers fan.
Because, as I've said on previous shows, Cow Cruz was important.
Not just for the Lakers right now, not just for this season but moving forward.
He is the sole survivor.
They traded everybody else right lungs of ball's gone.
Brandon Ingram is gone.
Josh Heart is gone.
Julius Randle gone.
All these other young pieces that they acquired over the years go on.
It's down to Kyle Kuzma.
He is the last real prospect that they have moving forward.
So it's gonna be important that he shows out this season and shows not just Lakers fans, but also Anthony Davis.
This is the place to be long term because he's involved in addition to LeBron James.
So Cosmo is saying that he wants to be that third guy.
That is exactly what you want to hear.
He's not stepping down from the challenge.
The question is, can he? Well, let's talk about his skill set.
Extremely versatile player.
He's a guy who can drive the ball off the bounce.
No problem doing that.
He can stretch the floor a little bit.
Although there were some issues there last season.
Look, his three point percentage went down to 30% last season after being 37% as a rookie.
And you could say, Well, maybe he was taking tough shots.
Actually, a lot of his looks last season were wide open because he was sharing the floor with LeBron James.
He does flat out wasn't knocking him down.
So that's not gonna get it done this season because a lot of the looks that he will get will once again be wide open, probably even more so, because now he has not just LeBron but also Anthony Davis out there.
So Koosman needs to make sure that he's knocking down those open jumpers.
And from all indications, he spent his summer righting that wrong and doing everything you can to fix it, to make sure he does knock down those shots.
That's gonna be a real big indicator.
If Kuzma really wants to be that third guy, he's got to become a not just good, but an elite level spot up shooter from the perimeter, at least be able to make defense's pay for ignoring him.
And that's something that he's gonna have to prove this season.
If he does want to be that third guy, the other issue with him is his defense.
His defense was really not good As a rookie.
He struggles quite a bit there.
He tends to get lost on rotations a little bit in turn.
His head doesn't make the right read or just doesn't react quick enough.
So those are all areas of concern, although I will say that is as much as people gave him gave him grief for his defense this last season.
He was actually a little bit better than he was as a rookie.
He recognized that that was a weakness and he's been working on it.
So Cal Koosman defensively, he still has a ways to go.
He's not a big, strong dude.
We think about like Julius Randle, how he was able to slide up and play the center just because he's so big, so strong, he can absorb that contact in the post.
That's not Count Cosmo.
He's not ableto handle the pounding inside.
That's what Kyle Kuzma is.
A five last season just didn't work at all.
He can't do that.
He gets bumped off his spot way too much.
So what I'd like to see Crews will focus on is his perimeter defense.
If he can stick with some of the quicker wing players, get his foot foot speed going, perhaps he could become enough of a defense of positive on the perimeter that it negates his shortcomings on the interior.
That would be the path forward.
I think for Kawakubo.
I'm not saying he's going to be a terrible defender on the inside.
He could still be a good position player and was saying he's never gonna be that RIM protector that you might need in the modern N b A.
So he's got to find ways around that so those were really the two areas that he needs to address.
If he wants to become that third guy for the Lakers, we already know.
Look, he's a creative finisher.
He couldn't do that.
He's not afraid of the moment.
He's cool with the spotlight in Los Angeles, has no issues there.
He works incredibly hard.
This is a guy who wants to be great.
All of that checks all the boxes.
The question now is, can he shore up these deficiencies in his skill set enough to really allow him to become that third guy in this season? This third season in the N. B.
Is gonna be a big one for him to prove that I do want to talk about one more thing here.
Whose husband, Haliti.
This is something that sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to when it comes to putting together a superstar.
It's not just about having the physical gifts, because we've seen plenty of players that have all the physical gifts but don't have the mental makeup to be a star.
That's called that Mamba mentality.
If we want to go Kobe here Cosmo has that he does.
The question with him is, can his skill set improve enough to match up with his mindset? Because, I'll tell you what, guys? Kyle Kuzma is an incredible worker, and he not only believes that he could be great, he understands the legacy that he could have for not just himself, but for his hometown of Flint, Michigan.
What we mean to that town for him to really rise in the n b A.
And he's not shying away from that challenge.
I absolutely love Kyle Cozma's mentality.
He doesn't back down from anybody.
He has great confidence in itself.
It's just a matter of getting That's those skills up to that next level.
I'll tell you what if he doesn't get there, it's not for lack of trying.
This is a guy who's busting his butt.
I've talked to his trainer, Clint Parks, many, many times, and he is.
He's always raving about just how hard Kyle Kuzma works.
And I gotta love this quote again from Shawn's Caronia, Kuzma said.
I'm still going to get my game off.
Regardless, He's got that right mentality.
He doesn't care if he comes off the bench, which look, that's probably going to happen.
Anthony Davis is going to start it before because he said a bunch of times, I don't want to be the center.
So that means you're looking at JaVale McGee or DeMarcus Cousins, starting at center Anthony Davis at the four.
LeBron's gonna be the three.
Sure, you can call him the point guard if you want.
He's not going to be Frank.
Vogel already mentioned that, He said said, He's gonna be the initiator.
He's going to be handling the ball alive, but he won't necessarily be defending point guards or anything.
So there's no real room in that starting five for Kyle Kuzma.
At this point, he's probably coming off the bench to start the season, But that doesn't mean he can't be just as deadly.
And that's what he's saying here.
He doesn't care if he has to come off the bench, he can still do his damage, and that's again.
You love the mentality, and if Kyle Kuzma doesn't make it, it's not because of what's up here, that's for sure.
He is a guy who's going to do everything he can to maximize his ability.
And I think that's a big part of the reason why the Lakers were so dead set on keeping him in the Anthony Davis trade talks.
All right, guys.
So what do you think? Let me know.
Can Kyle Kuzma become the third star that the Los Angeles Lakers need go and fire off a comment right down below? Let us know what you think.
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My name's Trevor Lane. Shoot me a follow on Twitter at Trevor.