When Kyle Kuzma first decided to declare for the NBA Draft in March, most mock drafts projected him to go late in the second round.
Then, the former Utah star’s stock rose after a solid performance at the NBA Combine.
On draft day, the Los Angeles Lakers nabbed him at No. 27 overall and now the 21-year-old is already proving to be a top sleeper pick.
Kuzma, a native of Flint, was named NBA Summer League Championship MVP after leading the Lakers to the Summer League Championship Monday night in Las Vegas.
He finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds to help the Lakers beat the Portland Trailblazers, 110-98, without Summer League MVP Lonzo Ball.
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you’ve got belief in yourself,” Kuzma said. “Nobody can tell you nothing.”
Kuzma went 6-for-10 on 3-pointers and shot 11-of-16 from the field in the final game.
Throughout the Summer League, the Burton Bentley High School alumni averaged 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field in seven games.
“I worked so hard on my game so I’ve just got to continue working and improve my shot and improve my entire game,” Kuzma said.
Lakers president Magic Johnson watched the game from the sidelines as he looks to restore relevance within the storied franchise in his new role.
Johnson said the team will continue to build and grow, using the first-ever Summer League title, as a confidence booster heading into the 2017-18 season.
“The Lakers are back,” Johnson declared.