Kyle Kuzma is doing everything he can to earn the money he got this offseason. If you’re a Lakers fan, you know how aggravating it is to see the inconsistency of him the past couple of seasons. He clearly has great potential, despite not playing a large number of minutes, but he needs to start showing it on a nightly basis.
Last night, he was once again put into the starting line up because KCP was out with an ankle injury. He had a very quick start, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first quarter. He then finished the night with only 11 points, only scoring 2 points for the rest of the three quarters, which is certainly concerning for fans, but again not surprising.
This was a classic, yet the typical performance of Kuzma. He comes out and lights up the three-point line just like he did a week ago against the Timberwolves, where he hit four threes to start and finished with 22 points. That game was the only other game where he has started so far this year. The issue with this puts some blame on Kuzma, but it’s also fair to put some blame on the head coach Frank Vogel.
This is now Kuzma’s fourth year on the team, and he has yet to be given the right opportunity to grow as a player. He has never inserted himself into the starting five regularly, but part of that has to do with his minutes and how over an 82 game season (72 in this case), they go up and down every game. In some games, we will see Kuzma play right until the end and even be out there for or to take the last shot, which he did in the bubble versus the Nuggets. Then, there will be games where you won’t see him for a whole quarter or even a half and forget he’s even on the roster.
At some point, the Lakers and especially Frank Vogel need to sit down and decide what his role should actually be, and it should stay that way. If you put Kuzma in the starting line up for a few consecutive games, maybe he will show that he’s worth it and will get his numbers up by the minutes and role he has on the team. It may be a confidence factor for Kuzma as well; if he’s coming off the bench so often, it may disrupt his timing and the number of shots he gets on a game to game basis. This is something that the organization needs to figure out sooner or later because some may suggest that his role on the team is completely holding back his confidence and his potential to be a star.
If the Lakers want to move forward this year and become back-to-back champions, they need to have a set in stone plan for the role of Kyle Kuzma. He can bring fire and energy to the starting five, which is something that KCP lacks every once in a while. Getting the best out of Kyle Kuzma is in the best interest of not only the organization but also to the players they are surrounding him with to get some excitement and energy out of the team during a long season.