The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the more surprising teams of the 2019-20 NBA season as they appear to be ahead of schedule in their rebuild thanks to Luka Doncic.
The 20-year-old has established himself as an All-Star player in the league and has turned heads with his MVP-caliber play in his sophomore season.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to convincingly defeat Doncic and the Mavericks to earn their seventh straight win and improve to 31-7 on the season.
Los Angeles was without Anthony Davis as he continues to heal from a back injury he suffered in the win against the New York Knicks, but they were able to pick up the slack.
Kyle Kuzma started in place of Davis and had one of his best performances so far, scoring 26 points in 34 minutes of action. Kuzma discussed the team’s effort and mindset when playing without Davis, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s next man up mentality. That doesn’t mean me or anything. It means everybody collectively has to raise their level of play and everybody did that… on the defensive end, offensive end and we just did a great job of having a team win.”
He also talked about why he was able to find success on the offensive end:
“I just feel like anytime I get big minutes, I produce and do the best I can. I’m a rhythm player and when I have a chance to continue to get a rhythm my game shows.”
Kuzma has seen his name in the rumor mill quite a bit lately as there have been reports the front office has been taking and making calls about him. He has had an up-and-down season so far and while he has shown improvement, it is hard to gauge whether or not he can play well enough to be the team’s de facto third option.
However, Kuzma’s game against the Mavericks will surely make the Lakers think harder about moving him as he once again showed his ability to score the basketball from either beyond the arc or in the paint. He is more than capable of scoring in bunches and carrying the offensive load when he’s hot and the Lakers will need that kind of player come playoff time.
While Kuzma’s future wearing the purple and gold may be up in the air, it is still good to see him shine when given the opportunity.