It may feel like just yesterday that Kyle Kuzma’s stats were exploding off the page during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he is actually now the organization’s longest-tenured player.
Kuzma has certainly had his ups and downs with the franchise as his role has changed from a scorer on a losing team to a player that can contribute to winning basketball, even winning a championship in the process.
However, the doubts were still loud and clear throughout this past year as Kuzma’s numbers didn’t improve much during his fourth season. His rebounding did improve from 4.5 to 6.1 per game as he started in 32 games due to various injuries on the team.
Kuzma has optimistic spirits on his future with the Lakers, especially considering how the short turnaround from last year affected his play.
He is looking forward to communicating with the Lakers this offseason so he can continue to grow as a player.
“100 percent. Like you said, I’ve been here the longest. I’ve been through a bunch of different eras here. Rebuilding stage. LeBron’s first year here figuring it out. Winning championships and now this year,” said Kuzma on staying in touch with the organization during the offseason.
“I’ve seen a lot. Been through a lot. Wore a lot of different hats and roles during my tenure here. I’m excited to see what the future brings for us and this offseason.”
After signing an extension last offseason, Kuzma is under contract for three more seasons. His name has seemingly always been in trade rumors though, so it will be interesting to see if he is still around when training camp rolls around.
Bryant saw Kuzma’s potential
Numbers don’t tell the whole story as Kuzma seemed in high spirits on his performance this season. There will always be those who defend Kuzma and those he may simply never win over.
One person Kuzma did win over was the greatest Laker of them all in Kobe Bryant. Bryant once took Kuzma for dinner and gave him the advice to, “just stay level-headed. Just work as hard as possible. I think those are just the main two things that I really got from him that he preaches that I got from him.”
With Bryant’s challenges across the league coming true such as his MVP challenges to Giannis Antentokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, Lakers fans may want to give Kuzma another try. No one had a better eye for talent than the Black Mamba himself.
“I only speak for myself, I think this year I made incredible strides becoming a winning player. Making the right play. Being a real valuable asset on the defensive end and I got a lot of growth in me. I can’t wait to get there,” Kuzma said on his season.
It sounds as though Kuzma is willing to put the work in to continuously improve. Many forget Kuzma is only 25 years old and with the flashes of potential he has shown, there is still high hope for his growth and development as the longest-tenured Laker.