Kyle Kuzma made a number of significant improvements between his first and second year with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not only did Kuzma marginally improve his field goal percentage, but he also made strides as a playmaker and defender. However, one area in which he saw a surprising decline was his three-point shooting.
Kuzma’s three-point percentage dropped from 36.6 to a measly 30.3 from his rookie to his sophomore season, a decline that was explained by the constant change in his shooting form. Kuzma rarely could find consistency in his jump shot, and it led to a shooting year that was one of the worst on a Lakers team that notoriously couldn’t shoot.
However, Kumza now feels he’s made the necessary improvements to get a consistent jump shot going, hopefully meaning a return to rookie Kuzma is plausible.
“The most improvement is just finding a consistent jump shooting form. Sticking to it, being consistent with it, really just having that daily discipline of shooting the same shot every time,” Kuzma emphasized. “I think that’s the biggest thing I worked on. A lot of you guys saw it during my USA stint, so that’s one thing for sure. The biggest thing.”
Kuzma does not need to be a lights-out shooter hitting 40% of his threes or more, especially if he continues to improve on defense and as a playmaker. However, getting his three-point percentage back up over that 35% mark would be gigantic for this Lakers team.
This Lakers team is far more loaded with shooters than last season’s team with Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook, and hopefully Kuzma. If the Lakers can get all of these players shooting over 35% with some crossing the 40% mark, it’s going to be particularly difficult to stop the Lakers from scoring points.
And with head coach Frank Vogel’s full time emphasis on defense, this team is looking to be a lot more complete than even Lakers fans originally thought. However, a lot of the depth and completeness of this team starts and ends with Kuzma.
If Kuzma can play his best basketball, it’s possible he becomes the third All-Star player the Lakers were looking for in free agency. The good thing is he doesn’t need to be that. He just needs to play defense, play smart basketball, and hit a solid percentage of his three-point attempts.