After signing a three-year extension before the 2020-21 season, Kyle Kuzma turned himself into a winning role player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kuzma shifted from his normal bench scoring role to a more well-rounded player who embraced the dirty work required to win games. The forward was a more enthusiastic player who also worked hard to become a credible wing defender which helped him stay on the floor even when his shot was not falling-.
With the offseason here earlier than Los Angeles expected, Kuzma is focused on doing whatever it takes to make sure he is contributing toward winning.
“For me, I don’t care about nothing, but winning,” Kuzma said. “I wore so many hats over the last two years doing whatever the organization and team and Frank [Vogel] wanted me to do. Some nights I would score, some nights it was play defense and some nights it was rebounding. Whatever it took to win, that’s what I wanted to do and I had fun doing it.”
As far as what he will specifically be working on, Kuzma noted that adding a better handle should open up the rest of his game. “I’m just super, super excited for this summer. The No. 1 thing that can really help me is adding a handle to my game,” Kuzma explained.
“I think that definitely limits me a little bit because I’ve shown great strides this year from a defensive standpoint making the right play. My playmaking has been better this year. I had a career year this year shooting from three. I think if I had a handle, it’s going to make everything come together and that’s the No. 1 thing that I’m really harping on this year.”
Kuzma is a willing passer with decent vision but oftentimes can not utilize that because he can not get to certain spots on the floor. Being able to handle the basketball more should make the Laker offense more diverse and ideally open up things for the rest of the team.
Kuzma will keep in contact with Lakers over offseason
Although players typically work out on and train on their own during the offseason, Kuzma noted he will still be keeping in contact with the Lakers as they plan out their summer. “100 percent. Like you said, I’ve been here the longest,” Kuzma said. “I’ve been through a bunch of different eras here. Rebuilding stage. LeBron’s first year here figuring it out. Winning championships and now this year. I’ve seen a lot. Been through a lot. Wore a lot of different hats and roles during my tenure here. I’m excited to see what the future brings for us and this offseason.
“I only speak for myself, I think this year I made incredible strides becoming a winning player. Making the right play. Being a real valuable asset on the defensive end and I got a lot of growth in me. I can’t wait to get there.”
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