The history of the third star struggling in a LeBron-led trio is real. LeBron has had top guns on the perimeter beside him in Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade. This time around, things are different with Anthony Davis anchoring the post but he’s just as talented as James in his respective position. The Lakers hope that Kuzma rounds out the third piece of the trio especially with questions about DeMarcus Cousins’ health impacting his play.
In this role, he’ll be viewed through the same scope as Chris Bosh and Kevin Love. Bosh took a backseat with the Miami Heat. Love struggled with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both were all-star level players before those roles. How will Kuzma handle his new duties despite not being on the level of Bosh and Love at the respective points of their careers??
There’s going to be an emerging need for Kuzma to expand his game beyond scoring if the shot is not there. The Lakers have a need for a big wing that can defend opposing scorers. If Kuzma was a smart man, this would be another focus to continue squeezing into his regime before he heads to Team USA camp
. If he cannot find that redeeming skill, he will also become yet another third guy losing the opportunities that made them effective.
Kuzma has often been touted as the most talented of the Lakers “young” prospects. In actuality, he might just be closer to his ceiling in comparison to his traded counterparts. He’s not a bad player, but how much more can he add to his game and take a leap? The chances are very slim for this to occur. Kuzma is 24 years old and should be nearing his peak production especially alongside James and Davis.
If the Lakers are going to compete for a championship, Kuzma could be the key to it all. The shooting and size on the wing will be an element that the Lakers so desperately need to relieve LeBron and AD. Along with fitting into a new role comes the new expectations.
Surviving the Anthony Davis trade has made Kuzma a continued darling of the Lakers. If he can’t rise to the occasion, there’s a strong chance that the Lakers might take a second look at his future with the team.