Once the pieces formed around the three players, Kuzma was immediately thrust into the third option role that very few players are forced into in just their third NBA season.
Kuzma had earned it after a very successful and unexpected first two seasons in the NBA but once he came into the season late due to an ankle injury, he never seemed to find his rhythm. Even after a few good games, he began to regress in some aspects, despite showing clear improvements in other facets like defense and playmaking. But what amplifies his struggles are those anointments he received at the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season.
When it comes to playing alongside Davis and James, Kuzma is simply trying to remain patient as he knew what it would take from him in order to win a championship, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
“I’m just being patient,” Kuzma said. “Obviously, coming in, I knew I had to sacrifice a lot. It’s kind of hard sometimes being a young player and you see other young players [around the league] that you think you are better than in better [playing] situations. But I just got great vets around me that keep me centered and chill. I have a chance to win a championship in my third year. I can do whatever I want after winning one. I’m just being positive.
Kuzma spoke about the adjustment period him and the rest of the team will need before it all starts to work seamlessly:
“For me, you’re not going to get the same touches, same shots and same vibe on the court. It’s something you really have to adjust and adapt to certain things. We live in a society where everybody wants you be to great now and every time out. But it’s going to take time.”
Kuzma will absolutely have time to adjust as the 2020 NBA playoffs won’t arrive for another four months. But if Kuzma can’t show signs of consistency before February’s trade deadline, it’s possible his name gets brought up in talks to try and make ‘win now’ moves.
The smartest thing to do would be to ‘be patient’ like Kuzma says. It’s a long season that will come with some trials and tribulations and fans — as well as the Lakers themselves — need to be aware of this. If people can let Kuzma have the time he needs to figure it out, this team could be even more dangerous come the playoffs.