If there’s one thing that Kyle Kuzma has in common with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it is that he does not lack confidence. Kuzma is trying to have more similarities with those two other than confidence, as Kuzma discussed theoretically being the Lakers’ third star in an ESPN piece from Ohm Youngmisuk:
“I don’t feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar. I put a lot of work in. My progress through my journey shows that I can be there. I developed every single year, dating back to college, and I don’t see that development stunting at all.”
As I said previously, the man is confident.
Although some may laugh at Kuzma’s confidence, I don’t see any problem with it and I’d say it’s welcomed by LeBron, AD, and the rest of the Lakers organization. Kuzma is a huge part of this roster in the upcoming season as well as future seasons after that, as Kuzma’s current and future contracts will be very easy for the Lakers to build around. The Lakers can probably compete for a championship if Kuzma is around the same player as he was last year, but they could potentially be the clear favorites if Kuzma can take the next steps towards being a future All-Star in this league.
One part of his quote that I find dubious is his claim that he’s “developed every single year, dating back to college”. If you examine his game, he sort of had a sophomore slump at times last year, especially in regards to his shooting. Kuzma even discusses this in the same article from ESPN (which is ironic), saying this:
“Last year I didn’t shoot the ball well, and I still averaged almost 20 [points per game]. If I can shoot the ball well and keep developing the facets of my game defensively, I don’t see why I can’t [be that third star].”
Kuzma hits on another weakness of his game from last year and the year before: his defense. He’s been somewhat of a liability there, but he has previously discussed how he’s been going about improving that facet of his game.
Getting Kuzma’s 3-point shot back to its rookie numbers is key, as the Lakers will need elite 3-point shooting around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Although Kuzma averaged 18.7 PPG in the 2018-19 season, his 3-point shooting percentage was an abysmal 30.3%, compared to his rookie season’s number of 36.6%. As he states, getting his percentage up to his rookie year as well as becoming at least an average defender would help him become that third star on the team.
Kyle Kuzma discussed other things in the piece, mostly revolving around the trade that sent Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart to New Orleans in return for Anthony Davis.