The Los Angeles Lakers were looking for Kyle Kuzma to take that next step in his development following the team’s championship run.
After all, Kuzma is the longest-tenured player on the roster following the team’s rebuild into a championship contender. He boasted promising upside as a potent scorer capable of producing on a consistent basis.
This spurred the Lakers to sign Kuzma to a three-year extension while the roster underwent some significant changes. Unfortunately, he struggled to adjust to his role alongside the new personnel while the grind of a shortened offseason started to take its toll.
Kuzma’s underwhelming year was plagued by a lack of rhythm within the offense. Although his shooting troubles forced him to make his presence felt in other areas of the game like defense and rebounding, L.A. was clearly in need of some bread and butter in the scoring department.
Kuzma averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds while starting in 32 of 68 games. He also shot at a 44.3% clip from the field and 36.1% from beyond the arc.
Injuries across the board for the Lakers forced Kuzma to take on different roles at certain points of the season. Even if the numbers indicate that he was shooting at a solid rate, they were the result of streaky performances throughout the year.
This was evident in the playoffs versus the Phoenix Suns when he scored 10 points through the first three games of the series. Even though he bounced back with double-digit outings in Games 4 and 5, he finished with averages of just 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game.
Although it was a roller-coaster year for Kuzma, he did have his fair share of bright moments. This was evident during the months of February and March when he averaged 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 34.3% from deep in 26 games.
There is plenty of speculation regarding Kuzma’s uncertain future in L.A. this offseason. Rumors indicate that he will be an integral piece of any potential trade packages the Purple and Gold make.
Kuzma has made it clear that he is focused on not only improving his ball handling, but finding a more consistent role on the team moving forward. With Anthony Davis missing time with injury, he provided a major boost to the shorthanded frontcourt.
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