Part of Kyle Kuzma's NBA career has included crossing paths with some great players while a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. He can count LeBron James and Anthony Davis as former teammates, plus he built a relationship with Kobe Bryant before his tragic passing.
Another would be Rajon Rondo, who could possibly join those others in the Hall of Fame someday. Rondo has built a reputation as one of the smartest players in the league and Kuzma saw it firsthand.
Kuzma described himself as a "film addict" at Monday's Wizards media day and he credited Rondo for helping him get to that point.
"A prime example. No matter what time it was, we would finish a game, you finish a game around 11 and I don’t really go to sleep until probably two or three because I’m still up from the game. Rondo, he would call me because we had that type of relationship. That’s still one of my brothers today. He would call me at three in the morning, 2:30 in the morning. This is when I’m first really getting into film," Kuzma said.
"He would call me and be like ‘yo, what are you doing right now?’ I’d be like ‘I’m watching film right now.’ And I really was, I wasn’t trying to bull---- him. He was like ‘alright cool, fast forward to the third quarter, four minutes left in the game, what do you see right here?’ That’s something that just stuck out to me. This guy was in his [13th year]. To have been in the league for so long and he’s still, like, that’s ingrained into him. That’s his DNA, it’s what makes him so smart, it’s what makes him so great. That’s something that just really, really always stuck with me. To this day, I watch film at all times."
Kuzma has been into watching film ever since and he doesn't just watch his games and the games of his upcoming opponents. Kuzma said he requested film of the Wizards' offseason scrimmages that were recorded by coaches. It helped him begin the process of building chemistry with his new teammates.
"Film gives you answers to the test," Kuzma said.
Rondo helped him understand that. Now entering his 16th year, Rondo is back on the Lakers, reunited with LeBron James and in search of another championship. Meanwhile, Kuzma is in Washington hoping to take his game to new heights with a new team.
Wherever he goes from here, Rondo will have helped the process.
"That dude, he’s unreal. The way he approaches the game, the way he thinks about the game, the way he watches film, it really just intrigued me. I want to be as great as I can be and that’s one of the things that really took my IQ and the way I see the game to a different level," Kuzma said.