Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd was someone the front office wanted even before hiring Frank Vogel as head coach. So much so that they required Vogel bring on Kidd as an assistant.
One reason behind that was they wanted him to help develop young players like Kyle Kuzma the way he did with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the Milwaukee Bucks. While Kidd is not 100% responsible, Kuzma has shown significant growth as a player since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
He is less focused on scoring and has become a more complete player because of it. He also is not letting poor shooting performances get in his head the way he might have in past years. Kuzma credited Kidd for teaching him about how regular-season struggles don’t mean as much, as it’s all a learning period that actually comes to fruition in the playoffs.
“That’s just the beauty of the regular season. I think from a media and fan perspective, obviously it’s something to talk about when we lose two in a row and guys are struggling or whatnot,” Kuzma said.
“When you’re in the trenches, within the organization, in the foxhole with the team and staff, we like to use the regular season as a rehearsal for the playoffs. That’s something I learned last year from Jason Kidd. He’s always said the regular season is just a rehearsal for the playoffs and you’ve got to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
“Especially for a team like us. We don’t practice at all. We never practice. Everything is all film related, because we’ve got a lot of high IQ guys that can translate something from a TV to the court.
“A lot of times, especially during the regular season, our practice is in the game. That’s just how we figure it out. One day at a time, don’t dwell, even-keel, get back to work. That’s the best thing about it.”
This advice from Kidd is always useful when a bad game comes along, but it’s especially helpful during a two-game losing streak when one of the defeats was to a bottom-three team in the league.
Vogel took blame for loss to Pistons
The lowest point of the Lakers season was last week’s blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons on the second night of a back-to-back. While the loss was due to a lack of team effort, Vogel took the majority of the blame.
“We had plenty of firepower to win this basketball game,” he said. “I’ve got to do a better job putting guys in the right spots to be successful and use our depth. We just didn’t get going in that second half.”
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