Davis’ arrival coupled with the signing of several veteran players who fill specific needs for the Los Angeles Lakers signaled an adjustment for Kuzma who spent his first two seasons in the league as one of the team’s go-to scorers. So far, he has experienced some inconsistent play as he has struggled to find his role in the offense, balancing looking to score and playing within head coach Frank Vogel’s scheme.
Against the New York Knicks, Kuzma scored 10 points off 4-of-10 shooting in 28 minutes of action, a subpar game by his standards. However, Vogel opted to play Kuzma more at small forward as a way to counter their opponent’s size and physicality.
Vogel admitted after the game the team is looking to get Kuzma more minutes at that position, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We want to be opportunistic in looking for ways to get Kuz at the three. I think we even had him at the two for a little stretch with LeBron out there. We can’t do that every night, can’t do that against the Boston Celtics who play four smalls and a big but these guys are huge. They play really big and rebounding is a concern, so we were able to do it.”
In the modern NBA, Kuzma’s best position is arguably at power forward given his ability to space the floor and attack closeouts off the dribble, but the Lakers boast quality frontcourt players, so finding time for the 24-year-old has proven difficult. However, he has shown that he is also capable of playing at small forward due to his lateral quickness on the perimeter, allowing him to credibly defend opposing guards and forwards.
While his versatility is a clear positive working in his favor, there are still concerns about whether or not he can credibly contribute come playoff time. As a result, he has found himself in the midst of trade rumors and this should continue all the way up until the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline rolls around.
In the meantime, all Kuzma can do is look to capitalize on his opportunities as they come as he is still a valuable part of the team. He has a good opportunity to prove his worth when the Lakers take on the Brooklyn Nets on the second night of a back-to-back situation.