After a solid first two seasons of his young career, Kyle Kuzma displayed great play for the Lakers and was the lead star out of the young core. But this season has been a different story for the young kid. This season, Kuzma has been rather inconsistent for the Lakers and the team usually has no clue what they will get out of him on a nightly basis.
Looking at Kuzma this season, he seems as if he can’t get into a rhythm where he can be comfortable playing alongside LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. One could sit and blame everything on Frank Vogel not putting him in the best positions. But Kuzma has shown himself that he is not always engaged in the system and it causes him to be a liability at times when he is on the floor.
Kuzma this season is averaging 12.5 points after averaging 18 points just a season ago. He’s also only shooting 43 percent from the field which is down from his first two seasons in the NBA. It’s no question that his role has changed after the Lakers acquired AD this past offseason. But the important thing for Kuzma to do is to accept his role for the better of the team if the Lakers have a shot at winning a championship.
Kuzma is by far the third-best player on the Lakers roster. When he is engaged in the offense he can basically carry them at times to secure a victory. Using his size at the forward position, Kuzma shows the ability to elevate over defenders create opportunities for himself. The only thing is he needs to keep that same energy every night. Instead of just running up and down the floor at times looking lost. Kuzma should always look to make a play as it can always lead to an opportunity for either himself or his teammates.
An example of Kuzma’s inconsistencies? Well, let’s look at December 28 against Portland. Kuzma was torching the defense scoring 24 points on 9-17 shooting. Then, the very next night against Dallas, Kuzma goes scoreless shooting 0-7 from the field. It’s unsure that maybe it is a confidence issue, but Kuzma seems to change his play when it comes to different opponents.
The key for Kuzma to be successful on the basketball floor is to always be aggressive. He’s shown that he can be a dog in his first two seasons. Now it is time to continue to keep that energy even playing alongside two stars. It will be great if he can flip the switch and begin to become the Kyle Kuzma of two years ago. His confidence will come a long way; the Lakers coaching staff would deeply appreciate him showing more effort during his playing time on the court.
Due to his inconsistencies, Kuzma’s name has been in many trade talks. And the team has more likely had many opportunities to ship him out of Los Angeles. In all honesty, no one should blame them for it either. This is a championship-contending team that needs all of the right pieces to come out and do their job in hopes to win a championship.
Kuzma has to change the narrative of himself. The fans love his swagger and composure on the court. Now it is time to carry that on a nightly basis and compete on the highest level. Kuzma’s potential is too great to show any signs of declining early in his career. When he is focused and engaged around his teammates; he is easily the third-best player on this Los Angeles Lakers roster.
Stay checked in here at Above The Rim for more recaps, breakdowns, and all the basketball content you could want!