Missing a player like Anthony Davis is always a big loss. But the Los Angeles Lakers are lucky to have a replacement like Kyle Kuzma. The #27 overall pick got the start after Davis was ruled out with a calf strain.
Kuzma seized the opportunity presented to him and led the Lakers to a win over the Timberwolves. He had 20 points and shot an excellent 8-12 from the field. His outside shooting was also terrific, and he ended with 4-6 from three. Not only did he impress with his offense, but also his defense, as he recorded three blocks. There was nothing more the Lakers could have asked of him.
Kuzma: Staying humble and making the most out of his chances
During his sophomore season in 2018-19, Kuzma had solidified himself as a starter. He averaged 18.7 points and started 68 of the 70 games he played. But in the following season, since the arrival of Davis, he has been relegated to the bench. He started just nine games last season.
But every time he was given the start, he shined. In those nine games, he averaged 20.9 points and almost shot 50% from the field. Tonight was a similar performance, and he was building his case to be a starter for the Lakers.
During the post-game press conference, Kuzma was just thankful for the opportunity to start. He said, “Just more opportunities. Obviously, we’ve got two superstars, and rightfully so. One of those guys is out, I just have more opportunity.”
Should the Lakers start Kuzma?
The Lakers lineup for the first two games consisted of LeBron, AD, Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This is likely to remain unchanged when all of them are healthy.
Kuzma excels in the small forward and power forward position, which is, unfortunately, the position the Lakers’ best players play already. So they are forced to use Kuzma off the bench. But in him, the Lakers have one of the most talented sixth men in the league.
If he stays committed to the cause and continues to perform off the bench, he will be vital in their hunt for a back-to-back title.
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