Though all eyes will be on LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the 2019-20 NBA season, arguably the biggest X-factor in turning the Los Angeles Lakers into a true championship contender will Kyle Kuzma.
He is the only one of the young Lakers core remaining and his growth will be crucial to the success of the team.
Kuzma has been hard at work all offseason to improve his game and recently returned from Team USA training camp. However, Kuzma understands what he needs to do to succeed next to two of the NBA’s best players.
Kuzma recently spoke to Mike Trudell of Lakers about exactly that, saying that he has to be able to hit his open shots due to the attention LeBron and Davis will garner:
“Just being able to hit open shots. Obviously, Bron and AD… they’re going to have a lot of attention. A lot of the defense is going to be geared on those guys, so just do what I’ve been doing… nothing different. Hit shots, being a great cutter, running the floor, and being a good teammate.”
Kuzma’s desire to be the third All-Star players the Lakers are looking for has been well noted. Work ethic has never been an issue for him and he has previously spoken about that motivation to be just that, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“My motivation is there to be that third guy,” Kuzma said, “for the simple fact that playing with LeBron, with AD, I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career. So that’s motivation in itself. It’s a testament to my work ethic and laying down the groundwork for my past two years being in the league.
Kuzma has always embraced and shined in the spotlight that comes with being a member of the Lakers and that light will never be brighter than it is this season. With the recent news that DeMarcus Cousins has suffered a torn ACL, the pressure on Kuzma will be even greater.
Kuzma has turned heads ever since he was selected with the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Lakers and now he has the opportunity to do so at the highest level.
To get the best out of Davis and James, Kuzma will need to shine and he knows exactly the best way to do so.