We’re only 22 days away until basketball officially returns from its long hiatus. Of course, the Lakers open up the return with their first game being against their Staples Center rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, on July 30.
Lakers Basketball is officially back. Here are your end of summer plans.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 26, 2020
We all know that the Lakers are led by two star players in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who intend to outshine the star-studded duo that the Clippers hold in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Before this season even started, many believed that the Lakers would be graced with the emergence of a third star from their own ranks in Kyle Kuzma.
The Lakers held tight onto Kuzma during talks to acquire Anthony Davis during the offseason in hopes that he would take some big steps forward this season in his development. While many may see his lack of emergence this year as a disappointment, Kuzma has different thoughts on the matter. During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, the Lakers’ forward revealed that he doesn’t feel pressured to become a leader or star on the team just yet, citing Kawhi Leonard early in his career as an example.
“I just look at Kawhi Leonard as an example. He was a Spur for 3, 4, 5 years or whatever it was, waiting his turn behind Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and then did his thing. I just take the pressure on myself and try to get better every day, stay focused on what I can control, and (know) my time is coming.”
Kawhi didn’t make an All-Star game until his fourth season where he finally started to emerge as one of NBA’s next biggest star. Kuz hasn’t particularly been a force to be reckoned with since being having his role change to coming off the bench, but he’s actually matched or exceeded Kawhi in a comparison of their first three years in the league.
Kuzma and the Lakers will match up against his inspiration and the Clippers on the opening night of the NBA’s return. They are also very likely to run into them during the playoffs where they’ll need every advantage they could get to push on to the NBA Finals. Kuzma will be counted on to produce and show the potential he has to aid a Lakers team in search of its first Larry O’Brien Trophy since 2010 and reestablish the Lakers back to their former glory.