The Los Angeles Lakers selected Kyle Kuzma with the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and he’s already a contributing player as a rookie.

“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.”

Rob Pelinka spoke about what they liked in Kuzma.

“We all felt Kyle gave us the architect of what we want in a player: the toughness, the grit, the versatility being able to play and defend multiple spots, and playing the positionless basketball we do under Coach [Luke] Walton,” Pelinka told The Vertical. “Kyle was the perfect selection for us there.”

The Lakers traveled to scout Kuzma multiple times over his three seasons at Utah, giving the franchise a full scope of his game.

“You’re going to have different consensuses in the room on picks, but once the selection came to us, Kyle was our pick,” Jesse Buss told The Vertical. “Not everyone is going to agree on draft night, but we valued our scouting staff and vision in selecting Kyle.”

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