Kicking off the top five is Kyle Kuzma, the talented forward from Flint, Michigan (not to be confused with Flint Tropics legend Jackie Moon).
Kuzma has blossomed into a fringe All-Star during his time with the Wizards. This season, he averaged 21.2 points and 7.2 rebounds across 64 contests. He also dropped 3.7 dimes per game while sinking 2.5 threes per game.
The 27-year-old brings a lot to the table with his 6-foot-9 frame. He can crash the glass, score on the block, and get buckets everywhere else with his physicality and shooting. His vision and defense have improved tremendously as he continues to make strides every season. Kuzma also has championship pedigree with the 2020 Los Angeles Lakers.
Kuzma would immediately slot in as a starting forward for the Pacers
With Indiana, Kuzma would fill in perfectly as a starting small forward or power forward, perhaps depending on what position Indiana’s lottery pick plays. Kuzma would give the team much-needed size and scoring at the forward spot, and he would instantly become one of Haliburton’s premier offensive options.
Thanks to their plentiful cap space, the Pacers could offer Kuzma a significant deal in an attempt to snatch him from Washington. While the Wizards can offer Kuzma more money than anyone else, the former Laker has made it clear that he plans to hit free agency and meet with many different teams that show interest, per NBC Sports Washington.
In an April exit interview with the Washington media, Kuzma shut down the importance of getting paid big money in his next contract.
"“I’m just trying to be myself. I’m trying to get better every year. It’s not about money, I’m going to get paid regardless anywhere [I go] and here, too. It’s about can I come into work every day and be the best version of myself, can I help lead guys, can I make other players better, can I light up rooms. All those things matter when you’re trying to be successful.”"
Given the cloudiness surrounding Washington’s direction as a franchise, Kuzma may want to find a new home this offseason. Fueled by the Haliburton-Turner-Mathurin trio, the Pacers have a clear path to Eastern Conference contention down the road. Kuzma should at least consider joining Indiana’s young core on their quest for success.