NBA

Kyle Kuzma hopes to become one of the best NBA players of all time.

Kyle Kuzma has ambitions of becoming a "Mount Rushmore player"

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Kyle Kuzma has spent much of the summer working on various parts of his game as he's desperate to take a major leap in his second season. 

The 23-year-old was arguably the steal of the draft last year as he enjoyed a terrific rookie season with the Los Angele Lakers after being selected with the 27th pick. 

He was the team's joint leading scorer, averaging 16.1 points per game, along with 6.3 rebounds. 

Kuzma didn't look fazed by the pressure of playing for one of the biggest franchises in the NBA and he's keen to truly establish himself as a star next year. 

Evolution

The power forward has spent time in the gym working with purple and gold legend Kobe Bryant to add new elements to his game and he's confident we'll see a huge difference in him. 

When asked by Lakers reporter Mike Trudell how much better he is now, he replied: "A lot. A lot better. Totally different.

"I’m stronger. I got more handle. I watch more film now to really understand things on the floor that I didn’t see last year."

Earlier this week, head coach Luke Walton revealed that Kuzma has been watching clips with new teammate Rajon Rondo to see where he can improve defensively. 

The youngster called the veteran point guard one of the best at looking back at film and breaking down plays. 

The Lakers are hoping Rondo can be a mentor for their young players

The former Utah product believes he has to become an all-around player to progress to that elite level.

"They [the Lakers coaches] know how good I want to be, so in order to take those steps, it’s just making my teammates better, playing defence and trying to buy into being an all-around player," he said.

"I think this summer, I took that approach to another level."

Ultimately, Kuz has the ambition to become an NBA great but he understands that it'll only come with team success and his contributions towards it. 

"Of course, the goal should be the team, because if the team wins everyone wins and looks good," he said.

"But you don’t want to be playing (10 minutes a game). I want to be a great player. I want to be a Mount Rushmore player.

Kuzma says he'll be an even better player this year

"You can’t do that just by totally buying in; you have to buy in, but it’s just a grey area. You have to still do your thing. You can’t just stand in the corner."

With the arrival of LeBron James, L.A. will be expected to win and at least make the playoffs this year so Kuzma will have to develop at a quicker rate. 

With the work he's put in over the offseason, he's certainly ready for the challenge ahead. 

CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.

Topics:
Luke Walton
Kyle Kuzma
Rajon Rondo
L.A. Lakers
LeBron James
NBA

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