Kyle Kuzma and the Los Angeles Lakers came all the way back against the Milwaukee Bucks, going on a 29-9 run to force overtime before ultimately losing the game.
On the Lakers’ final possession of overtime, Kuzma took an off-balance 3-pointer in delayed transition after head coach Luke Walton declined to call a timeout to draw up a play, something he acknowledged in hindsight was “probably” a bit preemptive
“But we came back from (down) 20. I just wanted to go for the win,” Kuzma said.
Still, he felt the experience of Walton not calling a timeout was a positive one because of the way letting the team play in those types of situations can help them down the road as they develop.
“It was very valuable for us for the future as we get more mature and more experienced playing those types of games,” Kuzma explained.
While Walton didn’t criticize the shot Kuzma took and credited the rookie for being good in those situations this season, he did think Kuzma should have pressured the defense a bit more instead of settling given the situation the Lakers were in.
“I told Kuz on that one we were only down two, look to attack the rim on that,” Walton said. “But he got a good look at it and Kuz has a tendency to make big shots. They did a nice job of executing.”
Still, like Kuzma said, these are situations that Walton and the young team can learn from as they build towards a brighter future. Yes, hindsight being 20-20 Kuzma probably shouldn’t have settled for a three there, but had he made it, no one would be criticizing him.
That reality doesn’t necessarily make Kuzma’s shot selection wise, but these types of situations are exactly the kinds that help players learn what to do and what not to do in crunch time at the NBA level.
Kuzma took a hard lesson against Milwaukee, and it will be up to him and the coaching staff to make sure he takes something positive away from it.