Kyle Kuzma is on the shortlist of most famous NBA players that hasn’t made an All-Star team. The 24-year-old, third-year player out of Utah has earned that status by virtue of being the lone member of the Lakers young core to survive the Anthony Davis trade and remain in Los Angeles.
Whether Kuzma can take a step forward to become the third star on the Lakers or not will be one of the biggest stories of the season for the Lakers, as they will need him to be a more consistent shooter and a quality third option offensively to take advantage of the attention defenses must give to LeBron James and Davis. Puma will be hoping he takes that next step as well, as the sneaker company is banking on Kuzma to be one of their premiere players after signing the star to a five year deal, per Shams Charania.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 2, 2019
Puma has been aggressive the last two years in targeting young players coming out of the draft while also inking deals with veteran role players, but they’ve yet to land a star in a major market. The closest they came was DeMarcus Cousins last year, but injury issues kept him limited in Golden State and his time with the Lakers ended before it could start due to a torn ACL and a current investigation into audio of the former All-Star threatening the mother of his child.
So, with Deandre Ayton in Phoenix, Marvin Bagley III in Sacramento, Michael Porter Jr. in Denver, Terry Rozier now in Charlotte, and R.J. Barrett on the lowly Knicks (albeit in a big market), they’ll hope Kuzma can be a flagship player in bringing their sneakers to the masses by way of Lakers games, along with new teammate Danny Green. How successful that venture will be, much like the Lakers, may hinge on how high Kuzma can push his ceiling, but Puma is banking on him becoming a star on the NBA’s biggest stage.