One major difference in any sport between superstars and simply good players is the ability to slow the game down.
Whether it is basketball, football, baseball, or anything else, there is a mental state that a player can reach where everything begins to slow down and Kyle Kuzma is trying to master that.
Kuzma has proven himself to be an excellent player and showed that his outstanding rookie year was no fluke during the 2018-19 NBA season. Known primarily as a scorer, he has worked hard to improve other facets of his game, showing off improved defense and playmaking at times in Year 2.
However, it is still scoring where Kuzma does his best work and he knows there is work to be done. The 23-year-old spoke with Kevin Ding of Lakers.com about working on improving the mental side of his game and slowing things down:
“I’ve still got to slow down on offense,” he said. “I still play a hundred miles per hour sometimes. I have games or I have streaks in the games where I’m slow, and I’m trying to stay in that mental mind state. And there are games or possessions the next quarter, I just start speeding up again.”
That inconsistency has shown itself throughout the season as there have been times where it looks as if Kuzma is ready to take that next step and others where he seemingly regresses. In the month of November, Kuzma averaged just 14.6 points, but that rose to 22.2 in December where he also upped his rebounds and assists. However, in the month of March, Kuzma was back down to just 14.6 points on only 39.0% shooting from the field.
Kuzma is undoubtedly a talented player, but just as important is the fact he is a hard worker who identifies his faults and works towards improving them. He has spoken previously about areas he wants to improve on and this is simply another facet of his game he knows can be better.