JUNKIES: Chase Hughes on Wizards re-signing Kyle Kuzma, young players at Summer League


NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes is out in Las Vegas covering the NBA Summer League, but even though he won’t see Victor Wembanyama face old friend Bilal Coulibaly when the Wizards play the Spurs because of Wemby’s shutdown, he is liking what he’s seeing so far.

He also is surprised like Cakes, but likes, the Wizards’ re-up of Kyle Kuzma.

“I personally was a little surprised because it came after trading Beal and Porzingis, and I thought those were clear signals they were moving in a different direction,” Hughes said. “But, it does make sense for a variety of reasons – one of which was what GM Will Dawkins pointed out: he’s 27 and an ascending player, and he may not have reached his peak yet.”

Kuzma also has experience going through a rebuild early in his career in Los Angeles – where he eventually won a title – so he can guide the team along the way.

“No matter what type of phase they’re in building this roster, he makes sense,” Hughes said. “Plus he’s a pass-first player, so if you want to put him out there with young players, he won’t get in the way, and he plays defense, which is important – so he can set a good example for the young guys. Now that we know the details of the contract, it makes sense.”

Hughes also had some thoughts about how well Jordan Poole and Kuzma will get along, and what another former Warrior, Patrick Baldwin Jr., could do now that he’s in DC as part of the Chris Paul deal as well.

“I was surprised he was part of the trade because he was a first-round pick a year ago, and the Warriors have such a heavy payroll you’d think they’d want to keep a guy like that,” Hughes said. “He was really impressive last year in Summer League, and he’s big for his skill-set and position with a smooth outside shot. If he starts knocking down 35 percent-plus from three, he will be a quality rotation player.”

Take a listen to Hughes’ entire call-in above, which includes thoughts on second-round pick Nikola Vukcevic, how the young players (including Johnny Davis) are looking in Vegas, the long-term futures of Poole and Kuzma, and more!

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