It’s been readily apparent since Kyle Kuzma played his first Las Vegas Summer League game for the Los Angeles Lakers that he boasted an advanced offensive repertoire. Kuzma added to it as his rookie season wore on, most notably unveiling different variations of a hook shot.
Kuzma also proved to be a threat behind the arc that while not of the knockdown shooter variety, still required opponents to respect him. He was among the players the Lakers front office mentioned as an answer to the team’s need to space the floor around LeBron James this season.
Kuzma’s field goal percentage is up from last season’s 45 percent to 47.1 percent, though he endured a particularly rough 4-for-20 effort against the Dallas Mavericks early in the week. Though, that was attributed to rust from missing games because of a lower back contusion.
The injury caused him discomfort but Kuzma used an off day to refine his shooting form. Lakers head coach Luke Walton said it amounted to 500 shots for the day’s work.
There wasn’t an immediate pay off as Kuzma struggled behind the three-point line against the Detroit Pistons. He still scored plenty from the paint and inside the arc, and later caught fire to finish with a career-high 41 points.
“I know I’m a great shooter. My percentage may not reflect that, but I’m always confident in shooting,” Kuzma said after his prolific night. “I’m always in the gym just trying to continue to put work in every single day. It paid off. Just have to continue to be consistent with that.”
While Kuzma’s field goal percentage has improved from his rookie season, he’s declined from deep. He’s now averaging 1.9 made 3-pointers per game, down from 2.1, Kuzma is knocking them down at a 30.6 percent clip. That’s noticeably less from finishing his first season at 36.6 percent behind the line.
A three-point decline in three-point percentage can be traced to a handful of games in which he missed anywhere from three to six attempts. But as Kuzma remains confident in himself, so too do Lakers head coach Luke Walton and the team.
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