|No. 33 – Washington Wizards|
|Born||July 24, 1995|
Flint, Michigan, US
|Listed height||6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)|
|Listed weight||221 lb (100 kg)|
|NBA draft||2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Brooklyn Nets|
|2017–2021||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Kyle Alexander Kuzma (born July 24, 1995) is an American professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Utah Utes and was named first-team all-conference in the Pac-12 as a junior in 2016–17. Kuzma was selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft with the 27th overall pick, and he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. He won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020 before being traded to the Wizards in 2021.
Raised in the Flint, Michigan, area, Kuzma is the son of Karri Kuzma, a high school shot put champion who attended college on a track scholarship. He has a younger half-brother named Andre and a younger half-sister named Briana. Kuzma is biracial. Kuzma met his father only once as an infant, but viewed the father of his half-siblings, Larry Smith, as a father figure. Karri Kuzma and Smith put a toy basketball rim in the living room for Kyle when he was only two years old, thus igniting his passion for basketball.
Kuzma has described Flint as "a really violent place [where] there's a lot of temptation to get into the streets." However, Kuzma described basketball as his "safe haven". Kuzma attended Swartz Creek Community Schools and 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 preparatory schools; Vin Sparacio, head coach at Rise Academy in Philadelphia, saw a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), 175 lb (79 kilograms), raw player who had a great feel for the game, and immediately brought him in. As a high school senior at Rise Academy, Kuzma averaged 22 points and seven rebounds per game. Kuzma received offers to play with Division I schools including Connecticut, Iowa State, Tennessee, and Missouri, among others, before deciding on the University of Utah.
Kuzma enrolled at the University of Utah in 2013. He redshirted his freshman year due to the fact that he signed late. He became a starter for the Utes in his sophomore year, when he averaged 10.8 points per game. As a junior in 2016–17, he averaged 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, which earned him first-team All-Pac-12 honors. After the season, Kuzma decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft, foregoing his final year of college basketball eligibility. Kuzma graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in sociology.
Los Angeles Lakers (2017–2021)
Kuzma was selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Brooklyn Nets. In a draft-day trade, he was dealt along with Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Prior to the draft, Kuzma had been projected to go in the second round. On July 3, 2017, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Lakers.
During the seven 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 17, he recorded another double-double by scoring 30 points, to go with 10 rebounds, in a 122–113 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Kuzma was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October/November. In 20 games, he averaged a team-high 16.7 points while shooting 50.4 percent overall and a team-leading 37.9 percent on three-point field goals. He was the first ever NBA rookie to compile at least 330 points, 120 rebounds, and 30 made three-pointers in his first 20 games. He was also just the sixth non-lottery pick to win the award in the first month of his career. On December 20, he scored a career-high 38 points on 70% shooting in a 122–116 win over Houston, ending the Rockets' 14-game winning streak. In the following game, he had a team-high 27 points in a 113–106 loss versus the Golden State Warriors to become the first Lakers rookie since Jerry West in 1961 to have scored 25 or more points in three straight games. He played in the Rising Stars Challenge during the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, and he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team at the end of the season.
On October 22, 2018, Kuzma scored a season-high 37 points against the San Antonio Spurs in a 143–142 overtime loss. On January 9, 2019, he scored a career-high 41 points against the Detroit Pistons in a 113–100 win. He was selected again for the Rising Stars game and earned MVP honors after scoring a game-high 35 points.
On August 10, 2020, Kuzma scored a game-winning three pointer to lift the Lakers to a 124–121 win over the Denver Nuggets, to cap off his 25 point night. In the postseason, he scored a career playoff high 19 points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, in a 115–104 loss against the Miami Heat. The Lakers won the series 4–2 to tie the league high with their 17th NBA championship. On December 21, 2020, Kuzma signed a three-year, $40 million contract extension with the Lakers.
Washington Wizards (2021–present)
On August 6, 2021, Kuzma was traded to the Washington Wizards as part of a package for Russell Westbrook. On November 10, 2021, Kuzma made four three pointers in the fourth quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, including two in the final 30 seconds to elevate the Wizards to a 97-94 win. After the game, Kuzma signed a Cavaliers fan's sign which read "LeBron Got Kuzma his RING!" In the post-game press conference, Kuzma responded to hecklers by saying "it was their fault" he made the game winning shots and said he told the fans with the sign "without LeBron, Cleveland wouldn't be shit." On February 10, 2022, Kuzma recorded his first triple-double in a 113–112 win against the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 15 points and adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Won an NBA championship||*||Led the league|
Awards and honors
- NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP (2019)
- 2× Rising Stars Challenge (2018, 2019)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (2018)
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- Ganguli, Tania (March 27, 2018). "Lakers report: Kyle Kuzma not afraid to tackle social issues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Mayer, Ryan (June 5, 2017). "Kyle Kuzma: My Life As An NBA Draft Prospect". CBS. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Lee, Joon (October 5, 2017). "'I Didn't Want to Go Back There': Lakers' Kyle Kuzma Talks About His Motivation". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "Kyle Kuzma". University of Utah Athletics. Archived from the original on October 23, 2017.
- "Kuzma Named to All-Pac-12 First Team". University of Utah Athletics. March 6, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Hein, Brett (May 3, 2017). "Utah basketball's Kyle Kuzma to hire agent, remain in NBA Draft". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Why KYLE KUZMA Is The STEAL of the DRAFT. BBALLBREAKDOWN. October 17, 2017. Event occurs at 7:47. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
- "BROOKLYN NETS ACQUIRE D'ANGELO RUSSELL AND TIMOFEY MOZGOV FROM L.A. LAKERS". NBA.com. June 22, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Spears, Marc J. (November 14, 2017). "Kyle Kuzma is more than the Lakers' other rookie — he's got game". The Undefeated. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017.
- "Lakers Sign Ball, Kuzma and Hart". NBA.com. July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
- Ramirez, Joey (July 17, 2017). "Kyle Kuzma Chosen As Summer League Championship MVP". NBA.com. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
- "Running Diary: Lakers vs. Nets (11/3/17)". NBA.com. November 3, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Ramirez, Joey (November 17, 2017). "Kuzma Drops 30 But Lakers Can't Hold Back Suns". Retrieved November 19, 2017.
- "Kyle Kuzma Named Western Conference Rookie of the Month". NBA.com. December 1, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
- Ganguli, Tanya (December 1, 2017). "Lakers' Kyle Kuzma named rookie of the month, and he might play Saturday". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017.
- Ramirez, Joey (December 20, 2017). "Running Diary: Lakers at Rockets (12/20/17)". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- Ganguli, Tania (December 22, 2017). "Lakers put up a good fight but Golden State wins another division clash". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017.
- Tanguli, Tania (January 29, 2019). "Lakers' Lonzo Ball concerned by possible Anthony Davis deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons lead 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie first team". NBA.com. May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Kyle Kuzma starts, scores 37 points in loss". Rotoworld.com. October 23, 2018. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- García Gundersen, Erik (January 10, 2019). "Kyle Kuzma drops career-high 41 points to lead Lakers past Pistons". LeBron Wire. USA Today. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
- Bontemps, Tim (February 15, 2019). "Kyle Kuzma wins Rising Stars MVP, cites winning $25K bonus as motivation". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Rohlin, Melissa (August 10, 2020). "Lakers' Kyle Kuzma On Game-Winner: 'Jesus Could Be In Front Of Me And I'd Still Shoot'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- Turner, Broderick (December 21, 2020). "Kyle Kuzma has new contract, still working on Lakers role". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
- "Washington acquires six players in five-team trade". NBA.com. August 6, 2021.
- Broom, Kevin (November 11, 2021). "Harrell and Kuzma lead Wizards to eighth win". Bullets Forever. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
- Lemoncelli, Jenna (November 11, 2021). "LeBron James hecklers sparked Kyle Kuzma's game-winner: 'Wouldn't be s–t'". New York Post. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
- "Wizards ride Kuzma's 1st career triple-double past Nets". nba.com.
- "Winnie Harlow confirms romance with LA Lakers star Kyle Kuzma". July 6, 2020.
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