LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) - Ever since the Lakers took former Utes star Kyle Kuzma with the 27th overall pick in the NBA Draft, he has felt the love in L.A.
"Yeah, just like at Utah, they're yelling 'Kuz.' he said from the sideline of the Coliseum at last wee's Utah-USC football game. "It's the same thing at Staples, so it's pretty cool."
But Kuzma is still tight with his friends back in Utah.
"For sure," he said. "The coaching staff and all my old teammates and friends from Utah. I talk to them all the time. That's my family too, so it's a lot of love."
And it's well deserved. Some people questioned whether Kuzma should have left after his junior year last season. But he killed it in Summer League, earning MVP honors in Las Vegas. He then went on to lead the Lakers in scoring in the preseason at over 17 points per game.
In his first regular season game last night against the Clippers, Kuzma came off the bench to score 8 points.
So where did this all come from? Afterall, Kuzma didn't show this kind of offensive firepower when he was at Utah.
"It's just a different style of play," Kuzma said. "At Utah, it was a very structured system. I played as a traditional four, a lot of post up and stuff. Now playing in the NBA, there's a lot of spacing, and I've been working on my jump shot which has helped me out a lot, too."
While he'll surely undergo some struggles during his rookie season, so far Kuzma hasn't been intimated by the NBA game.
"I just have a lot of confidence in myself," he said. "I work hard, so nothing really scares me."
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