Kuzma steps up in Ball’s absence to lead Lakers to Summer League title

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 110-98 in the NBA summer league championship (John Locher/AP Photo)

Kyle Kuzma led the Los Angeles Lakers to the Las Vegas Summer League title Monday, securing Championship MVP honours in a 110-98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The No. 27 overall pick in the 2017 draft put on a show as his teammate Lonzo Ball, the MVP of the tournament, sat due to injury. Kuzma responded by scoring 30 points in the opening three quarters, while also grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with six three-pointers.

The six-foot-nine forward was able to showcase his versatility as he led the Lakers to their sixth straight win Monday night.

While it was definitely Kuzma’s best performance of the tournament, he had a solid overall showing in Vegas and earned a spot on the Summer League All-NBA second team.

It might just be Summer League, but Kuzma is already looking a steal – especially considering the Lakers selected him using the draft pick they received from Brooklyn when they traded D’Angelo Russell.

While Kuzma did his part from beyond the arc, the Lakers as a team made 14 of their 24 attempts from three-point distance against the Trail Blazers. All their starters also finished in double digits, as they held a healthy lead for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

While it might not compare to the Lakers’ 16 NBA Championships, it’s a refreshing start to the 2017-18 season for a team looking at a challenging road ahead.