After a season in which the Los Angeles Lakers received significant contributions from their young core but nevertheless had a grand vision for free agency, Kyle Kuzma was among those to stress the importance of the team’s current players taking their development seriously.
Kuzma and Josh Hart were in agreement that players couldn’t afford to focus or rely on the possibility of the Lakers signing a marquee All-Star free agent. That meshed well with the challenge the front office issued.
With LeBron James signing a four-year contract, expectations and pressure surrounding the team has drastically changed. Despite that, Kuzma and the young core have welcomed the challenge of playing in James’ shadow.
After an offseason in which he worked on his all-around game, Kuzma is more at ease heading into a second season than he was as a rookie, via the Lakers’ YouTube channel:
“A lot more confident, I’ve been there. I went through a whole NBA season and know what to expect. I’m not going to be too nervous like I was last year on Opening Night. I think that’s the big difference.”
As the Lakers have explored with various small-ball lineups, including playing Kuzma at center, he feels prepared to do so come Thursday:
“I’m excited. I’m always ready for a challenge. I’ve been working all preseason at it, eventually got better and better at it.”
After opening eyes as a rookie and earning the label of being the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma is primed to take another step forward.
Golden State Warriors forward spoke highly of Kuzma and Brandon Ingram, and specifically mentioned the former as his choice to emerge as a second star to James.
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