When the 2019-2020 NBA season began, the Los Angeles Lakers got off to a fast start thanks to their clearly-established roles. Each player, from LeBron James and Anthony Davis to Jared Dudley and Dwight Howard, knew exactly what the team needed from them in order to win.
That is, except for Kyle Kuzma.
As the only piece from the Lakers’ young core to not be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal to get Davis, Kuzma’s development made him something of a wild card. Would his best role be off the bench or as a starter?
Could he bring instant scoring punch or did he need creators around him? And perhaps most importantly, could he adjust to playing alongside not one but two superstars?
While some hoped that Kuzma would eventually settle into a role as the Lakers’ third scoring option and create a powerful trio with James and Davis, his skills simply haven’t been on that level. His play has been something of a roller coaster, with good performances often followed by several poor ones.
It’s this inconsistency that has drawn the ire of fans and pushed his name into trade discussions at the deadline. After all, the Lakers, with a 35-year-old James running the show, need to win now.
Ultimately, the Lakers chose not to deal Kuzma, and during an Instagram Live session with Dudley, he revealed that he still feels like his time is coming. For now, he’s focusing on rounding out his game beyond scoring, focusing instead on defense, rebounding, and creating plays for others.
This has caused his stock to drop somewhat, but he believes that, in the long run, it’s going to make him a better player.