Lakers sophomore Brandon Ingram and rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma were three of 10 American first- and second-year players selected by the league’s assistant coaches to participate in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game, it was announced Wednesday. Ball and Kuzma become the 11th and 12th Lakers in franchise history to be selected to the game (previously known as the Rookie- Sophomore Game), while Ingram joins D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Farmar as the only Lakers to participate in the game twice. It is the third consecutive season the Lakers have had at least two representatives in the game, and the first time the team’s had three participants since 1997 (Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Travis Knight).
Ingram is averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists, shooting 45.1 percent from the field and
34.3 percent from three-point range in 43 games (all starts). Ingram is the only player in the NBA age 20 years or younger averaging at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. The second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram has 11 games with 20 points or more this season, including a career-high 32 points on November 29 vs. Golden State.
Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is tallying 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 36 games (all starts). On November 11, the 6-foot-6 point guard became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, at 20 years and 15 days old. The UCLA product is one of six rookies in NBA history to record at least two triple-doubles in their first 20 games, notching his second on November 19 vs. Denver.
Kuzma is leading the Lakers in scoring with 16.7 points (.463 FG%, .382 3FG%), along with 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 46 games (21 starts). Kuzma scored 25-plus points in three straight games from December 18-22, the first Lakers rookie to do so since Jerry West in 1961. On December 20 at Houston, Kuzma became the first rookie in NBA history to score at least 38 points, with seven or more three- pointers, while shooting at least 70.0 percent from the field.
Lakers previously selected to appear in the contest are: Ingram (2017), Russell (2017 and 2016), Jordan Clarkson (2016), Farmar (2008 and 2007), Andrew Bynum (2007), Bryant (1997), Fisher (1997), Knight (1997), Eddie Jones (1995, selected MVP), and Nick Van Exel (1994).
The game will be played on Friday, February 16 during NBA All-Star 2018 at STAPLES Center.