Los Angeles Lakers: Kyle Kuzma embracing the Mamba Mentality

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kyle Kuzma
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kyle Kuzma /

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma embraces the Mamba Mentality in many situations.

The Los Angeles Lakers look to have hit a gold mine during the 2017 NBA Draft. With their three first-round picks, the Lakers have added to an already impressive stable of young players.

With the second overall pick, the Lakers landed point guard Lonzo Ball. At No. 27, they got arguably the biggest steal of the draft in forward Kyle Kuzma. At No. 30, Josh Hart was selected. Throughout the 2017-18 season, all three showed why they can be an integral part of the roster going forward.

All three have different strengths and weaknesses in their games. Of the three, Kuzma is the most gifted scorer. While Kuzma doesn’t have the name recognition of some of his other teammates, he has a lot of qualities to like.

Kuzma was arguably the most consistent player the Lakers had in his rookie season. He proved his doubters wrong from Day 1, showing a scoring ability that draft pundits didn’t believe he possessed.

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Kuzma averaged 16.1 points per game. That was tied for the team lead with Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram. His offensive game is versatile, as he can step out to the 3-point line with confidence and has an array of shots around the basket, including a running sky hook.

That scoring versatility is something reminiscent of future Hall of Famer, Kobe Bryant. Since Bryant retired, the Lakers have been desperate for another go-to scorer and face of the franchise. Kuzma could fill that role, as he is already embracing that Mamba Mentality.

Recently, when talking to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, Kuzma revealed that he has Bryant on the mind when in some situations.

"“I get through a lot of situations,” Kuzma says, “asking myself what Kobe would do.”"

The Mamba Mentality is something that has become popular in recent years. However, not everyone is as lucky as Kuzma is. Kuzma got to pick Bryant’s brain when the two went out to dinner earlier this season. Kuzma said he received some great advice and seems to be putting that advice to use on a daily basis.

Bryant had an outstanding career with the Lakers, but he wasn’t even able to do what Kuzma did his rookie season. Bryant averaged only 7.6 points per game in his rookie season. He didn’t reach Kuzma’s 16.1 points per game until his third season in the league when he averaged 19.9.

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Bryant’s path to the NBA was different than Kuzma’s. However, on the court, the two play with a similar mindset as Kuzma loves having the ball in his hands and isn’t afraid to shoot in any situation. It is a mentality that Bryant himself would appreciate as well.