The Los Angeles Lakers might have found luck after two of their three first-round selections in last June’s NBA Draft stood out in the recently concluded Las Vegas Summer League. Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick of the draft, lived up to the hype after bagging the tournament’s MVP with a near triple-double average.

However, Kyle Kuzma turned out to be the biggest surprise in a rather successful summer for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. The 28th pick turned heads with his accurate long-ball shooting, great mobility at 6-10, and a skillset that made him such a wonderful complement to Ball’s great court vision.

Kuzma as starter

Kuzma, who was also named the Finals MVP of the Summer League, will play a major part in the Lakers’ grand rebuilding plan. As a matter of fact, there are already several people within the Lakers organization believing that Kuzma will eventually become a starter at the power forward spot for the Lakers. In what will be Julius Randle’s make or break season, the former Utah standout is expected to challenge for a starting spot come training camp.

According to an insider, Kuzma’s game fits well into coach Luke Walton’s fast-paced, position-less system. Randle, on the other hand, managed to put up 13.2 ppg and 8.6 rpg over 74 games last season, but he was never viewed as a legit threat from the 3-point territory (27 percent from 3-point area). In today’s NBA, it requires a consistent three-point shooter at the power forward spot, which is something defending champion Golden State Warriors capitalized very well with Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

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Julius Randle trade

If Kuzma carries over his strong play from the Summer League to the upcoming season, all directions are pointing towards promoting him as a starter. This scenario would be a big blow to Randle’s career, and that probably leads the Lakers to trade him elsewhere. The 22-year old Randle is eligible for a contract extension entering his fourth NBA season.

The bad news for the former Kentucky standout is that it’s unlikely an extension takes place anytime soon since the Lakers have made a priority in creating financial flexibility for the free-agency summer of 2018, where LeBron James, Paul George and Russell Westbrook are expected to hit the market.

Randle will be vulnerable to trade discussions for the entire first half of the season, until the trade deadline. With the Lakers looking for ways to unload Luol Deng’s bad contract, it won’t be surprising if Magic and Pelinka include Randle in the trade package.

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