After being the sole survivor in the Anthony Davis trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma instantly saw the need for his development to skyrocket in the offseason.
With this roster and head coach Frank Vogel, Kuzma can no longer be a member of the developing young core but now needs to make legitimate strides towards becoming an All-Star level player.
Kuzma had certainly been the most far along player of the young core in terms of readiness, and it’s what made him the steal of the 2017 NBA draft when he was selected No. 27. However, he’s had major flaws in his game the past two seasons.
Despite that, his new teammate Anthony Davis sees a very bright future for Kuzma and said that he is ‘very excited’ to play alongside him in the upcoming seasons.
“Kuz is an unbelievable player, a young player who is steadily growing, always working on his craft,” Davis said of the third-year player. “Anytime I’ve played against him, it was always great battles. He can shoot it, he can stretch the floor, he can put it down, he can finish, has some post moves. I’m very excited about playing alongside him.”
Offensively, Kuzma has always been more NBA ready than his peers. It’s his defense that has struggled mightily, and something that many thought would ultimately be his downfall. However, Vogel sees the potential for Kuzma to be a good defender, and will assuredly work hard to bring it out of him.
“Kuz, I couldn’t be more impressed with him in all aspects. Everything he’s able to do on the basketball court, I’m going to push him to really reach his potential on the defensive end. We know he can fill it up and score in every way imaginable,” Vogel said of his on-court abilities. “He’s shown to me early on that he’s very, very approachable. His attitude is a 10 out of 10, he’s a team-first guy. He’s going to be a major factor for us and play a major role for us.”
Vogel and Davis both being so complimentary of Kuzma is something that could be very important heading into the 2019-20 NBA season. Kuzma will likely become the team’s sixth man with Davis making it known he prefers to play the power forward.
This role change could possibly affect a player’s psyche but if Vogel and Davis continue to show their love for Kuzma, he may be more receptive to the switch.