No strangers to media attention, the Los Angeles Lakers have again been the source of endless criticism and analysis this season. From the Anthony Davis trade speculation, which involved Kyle Kuzma and every member of the young core, to a locker room dispute between veteran players and head coach Luke Walton, public perception of the Lakers has been in shambles on multiple occasions.
Walton has been intertwined in his own saga as his job security has been called into question throughout much of the season. The general consensus has the Lakers parting with Walton at the end of the season.
However, one thing going for him is Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and the players, especially Kuzma, have shown the utmost appreciation for what Walton has done. Kuzma went on record again, explaining what he values and appreciates from his coach, via Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated:
“Walton is big on empowerment, promoting player involvement through what he calls ‘active learning.’ For Kuzma, Walton’s approach acted like a force magnifier. ‘I love Luke,’ says Kuzma. ‘Ever since I came in the league, he’s let me be myself. It’s one thing to be confident, but when your head coach believes in you and he’s confident, that takes your confidence way up.'”
Kuzma’s game is at its best when he is confident in it. Since the trade deadline passed, Kuzma played some excellent basketball, even if the Lakers didn’t win most of those games. But when he’ll see the court again is unclear.
Kuzma suffered a sprained right ankle that could sideline him into early next week.