During the 2019-20 season, the Los Angeles Lakers assembled a roster with many veterans signing cheap deals. So after LeBron James and Anthony Davis, one could say their third-best player was Kyle Kuzma. The forward was expected to step up and form a big three with them, but he failed to do so.
But for the upcoming season, LeBron believes Kuz is ready to prove everyone wrong. When Hoop Central asked their Twitter followers to “Name an NBA player you think will take a giant leap this season,” LeBron replied by saying Kyle Kuzma’s name.
Despite Kuzma’s struggles, especially during the playoffs, LeBron still has faith in the 25-year-old. The former #27 pick from 2016 has seen himself go down the pecking order after the arrival of Davis. But he has still had a few games where he showed promise. While the Lakers fans may not believe in him, it is huge for the youngster that LeBron hasn’t given up on him.
The Lakers have had an excellent 2020 off-season. They have added some exciting pieces in Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell and finalized extensions for Davis and James.
Previously they had veterans like Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, and Dwight Howard, who wouldn’t take up many shots. But now, with the arrival of Schroder and Harrell, Kuzma’s touches might go down. His hopes of forming that Big 3 will take a hit with their arrivals since they are both currently better than him.
While this would mean Kuzma gets involved lesser, he still can prove to be a solid asset to the team. When he gets in the groove, he can be a force on both ends.
Kuzma averaged only 12.8 points per game during the 2019-20 season and shot 31% from three. But during the seeding games in the bubble, he averaged 15.4 points per game, while shooting a fantastic 44% from three. Compared to his regular-season stats of 0.5 steals and 0.4 blocks per game, his seeding game stats were 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
So there is no lack of talent; Kuzma just has to put in more effort. LeBron knows that Kuzma can do better, and he will ensure that he gets the best out of him this season. Another factor that could determine Kuzma’s performance is that it’s his contract year. He is eligible for an extension now, and he will be eager to prove he deserves a payday.
Kuzma has faced a lot of disrespect, which even made him deactivate his Twitter account, so he will be keen on proving his critics wrong.
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