In the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Los Angeles Lakers made sure to hang on to Kyle Kuzma.
Along with the cap flexibility of keeping him over Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball, the Lakers front office felt the most confidence in him to become an All-Star player.
The Lakers choosing Kuzma over their former lottery picks brought along with it huge expectations for Kuzma in the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season. In Year 3, he’ll be expected to take huge leaps as a defender and playmaker, becoming the possible third player on a championship roster.
Kuzma welcomes this challenge and is looking forward to this latest one, according to Brendan Savage of MLive Michigan:
“’I always love being in the spotlight,’ said Kuzma, a 6-foot-9 power forward. ‘For me it’s all about winning. We’ve got a lot of vets and they come by and say ‘You don’t really have to an opportunity to play for a genuine contender right away.’”
Kuzma said he’s ready for these pressures because of the journey he’s had to go on just to get to this point. Beyond just the journey, Kuzma also said he expects a big year from himself and that he’s been working ‘super hard’ on his game this summer:
“Definitely not taking it for granted and am enjoying it and embracing the journey. At the end of the day, it is crazy coming from where I come from and my journey to the NBA. But I’m built for it. I’m ready for it.
“I just want to do as much as I can. I’ve been working super hard this summer on my game. I’m expecting to have a big year, too.”
Kuzma has several discernible things he must improve on heading into Year 3 with his defense easily topping the list. Playmaking is also something Kuzma needs to improve on, making sure that he doesn’t just look to score every time he touches the ball. And finally, he must get his three-point shooting back to where it was his rookie year.
From his rookie to sophomore seasons, Kuzma’s three-point shooting dropped over six percent from 36.6 to 30.3. If he can get back up to the 35 and above percent range, he’ll be a deadly offensive asset for a team that already has several.