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Kyle Kuzma: ‘Everyone said I would be a second-round pick or undrafted’

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Around the Los Angeles Lakers, his success as a potential cornerstone alongside Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram is a credit to his dedication and a determined mindset from his life’s journey. In a talented and deep draft full of prospects, Kuzma has become one of the most impressive of them all — a versatile forward with the ability to score inside and outside, pass and handle the ball, and defend and rebound. In 10 games so far, Kuzma has three 20-point games and three double-doubles and is now starting in place of the injured Larry Nance Jr. With the league increasingly valuing positional flexibility, Kuzma translates and has performed better than few imagined. “In today’s game, I feel my talents and abilities work perfectly at any position,” Kuzma told The Vertical.

“Everyone said I would be a second-round pick or undrafted guy, that’s all I heard coming to the draft, but I had a higher faith,” Kuzma told The Vertical. “I knew I was way better than that, better than how people pegged me. After I killed draft workouts and the combine, I knew I would go in the first round. I had a good hint that it would be L.A., just because of the workout and my combine interview with them, but I didn’t know until draft night. I know there’s a lot more work for us to do, but I couldn’t have landed in a better situation and I had to take advantage.”

The Lakers’ selection of Kuzma with the No. 27 overall pick came to fruition not only because of scouting but luck, as well. There were several teams eyeing Kuzma late in the first round, but president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and the team’s decision makers landed an impressive player to round out a promising rookie group that also includes Ball, Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant.

Source: Shams Charania of ESPN

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Report: Jimmy Butler to Undergo MRI on Right Knee

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Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 lossto the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.

Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter, missed a short jumper, but then clawed the rebound. He dished to a teammate, then crumpled to the floor in pain, holding his knee.

Teammates, coaches and athletic trainers tended to Butler, who had to be helped off the court. He was unable to put any weight on the leg as he was helped to the locker room, where he was evaluated.

Butler was seen hopping on one foot in the Toyota Center hallway as he headed to get an X-ray. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday when the team gets back to Minnesota.

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Multiple Teams Interested in Joakim Noah if Bought Out

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According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring [Joakim] Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.

The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason.

Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.

Noah remains in limbo following an altercation with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek last month in Denver.

Source: Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

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Sources: Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova Nearing Buyout, Multiple Teams Interested

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Atlanta Hawks nearing a buyout with Ersan Ilyasova, I’m told.

Milwaukee and Toronto among possibilities for an Ersan Ilyasova landing spot once Hawks buyout is complete, but sense is it could open to other teams too.

Source: Sam Amick on Twitter

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