It became more of an unrelated tradition than any other.
NBA players dominate local ProAm tournaments every summer around the country. Kyle Kuzma is the latest player to average the score, dropping a staggering 67 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists. That kind of production is quite a feat, but Kuzma plays this game for a living in the best league on earth.
What makes me understand this is how people hype about these ProAm performances, mostly against non-NBA players. In this game, Scottie Barnes and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are on the field, but that’s not even half of the players on the floor. This output is 26 points better than Kuzma’s NBA high profession41 points against the Pistons in 2019.
I’d like to see Kuzma average 20 ppg for the team that pays him to play. You know, where it really relies on the court. This is a charity game, so it makes sense, but all the hype about this and that game like it went too far.
Payton Pritchard put up 92 points last August during a ProAm game in Portland and the Internet almost exploded. A week before Pritchard’s big game, Isiah Thomas posted 81 in a Seattle ProAm game. These shows have been going on all over the place, and in Thomas’s case, I get it.
Thomas was still looking to show people he could play and is still having trouble sticking with an NBA franchise for the long term. He’s an older player who suffered a bad injury and has spent the past few years barely hanging on in the NBA. But Kuzma has a solid spot with the Wizards, and even Pritchard is a regular rotation guy for the Celtics.
Caldwell-Pope and Barnes also scored 38 and 35 points in the same game on the opposing side. Apparently, they only went half speed compared to Kuzma. Former teammate LeBron James hopped on Instagram to praise Kuzma as if he hadn’t traded him for Russell Westbrook.
After the season James had with Westbrook and seeing this offensive burst from Kuzma, Bron will likely regret last summer’s move. But seriously, if it had to go through this ProAm performance for James to realize how bad the deal was, he wasn’t the basketball genius everyone gave him for existence.
The Westbrook trade was horrible then, now and forever. If there’s a way to undo it, I’m willing to bet James jumps on that, no question asked. I know Kuzma won’t drop that much in a link game, but at least he can play in the system. The Westbrook experiment was horrible, and James had to live with it.
But congratulations to Kuzma on his new career overall (I would imagine). Scoring all those points must have been fun, but don’t get too hung up on praise and praise among NBA players. You guys do this for a living and shouldn’t be easily impressed.