Kyle Kuzma has — for the most part — struggled since returning to the Los Angeles Lakers to begin the 2019-20 NBA season after a stress reaction in his left foot.
While Kuzma still is obviously getting his legs under him, he is yet to provide the relief for LeBron James and Anthony Davis that he was supposed to do as a sixth man.
Going into his third season, that was supposed to be Kuzma’s primary role. He was supposed to be the first bench option that comes in and gives the Lakers go-to scoring when their two All-Star players are off the court. He showed what he can do in a small flash at the beginning of the fourth quarter in a comeback win over the Chicago Bulls, but otherwise has struggled to get things going.
Prior to a 95-80 win against the Miami Heat where Kuzma shot just 3-of-9 from the field, he spoke about what being the first bench option could mean for him and the team.
“Well individually speaking, I think it would be huge for me just from the simple fact of just developing as a player,” Kuzma shared. “Being able to hone my skills and being able to transition from an off-ball guy to really making plays, coming off pin-downs, and be a primary scoring option.”
“Plus, if I have it going like that, obviously [James] and [Davis] get the certain breaks that they need throughout the entire season and that could be valuable for us in a playoff run.”
It seems Kuzma is very aware and comfortable with what his role will be on this team. Now, he just needs to work on getting his legs back and getting back into game shape because the flashes of what he’s capable of have always been there.
If Kuzma can continue his steady rise as a defender while bringing his three-point percentage to that 35+ percent range, he could be a very dangerous third option.