The injury bug hit the young core of the Los Angeles Lakers hard throughout the 2018-19 NBA season.
Lonzo Ball suffered a severe ankle sprain that has him out for the rest of the season while Brandon Ingram had to undergo thoracic outlet decompression surgery. Additionally, Josh Hart has dealt with knee tendinitis all season leaving Kyle Kuzma as the healthiest of the bunch.
Kuzma has missed a handful of games himself this season with hip and ankle issues but with the season winding down, the second-year forward has often found himself as the only young player on the floor for the Lakers. He isn’t taking the time for granted, however.
Kuzma recently spoke with Kyle Goon of Orange County Register and discussed working hard to improve his all-around game down the stretch of this season:
“We have guys who need the ball, and I’m a guy who creates a lot of attention out on the court because of the way I score and shoot the ball,” he said. “I think it’s my job to just continue to develop and become a playmaker, and just grow an all-around game.”
These are the types of things fans and the front office like to hear from young players and something Kuzma has been about since he stepped foot in the NBA. It was clear early on that Kuzma could score but his ability to improve the rest of his game is what will shape his career.
There have been signs of improvement throughout this season for Kuzma. At times, he has taken on tough defensive matchups and held his own against some of the NBA’s best forwards. More recently, his passing took center stage as he had back-to-back games of 10 and eight assists.
Arguably most importantly for Kuzma this season is that he has shown that he is a nice compliment to LeBron James. His work ethic is outstanding and the fact that he knows where his shortcomings are and works to improve them is a positive sign for his future.