So far there have been little to no signs of a championship hangover for the Lakers after their first three preseason games. Stars like Anthony Davis and LeBron James have had limited participation thus far to keep them fresh for the regular season. That’s given players like Talen Horton-Tucker a chance to shine in their absence. While THT has had the spotlight in the past three games, another Laker has been showing he’s capable of.
Last season, Kyle Kuzma was under a lot of heat for not playing up to his potential. It reached the point where a petition was made to try and exclude him from getting a ring once the Lakers won the NBA title. However, while it may just be the preseason, Kuz has shown what he can do while on the court.
- Preseason game 1: 38 mins, 18 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds
- Preseason game 2: 40 Min, 25 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds
- Preseason game 3: 32 Mins, 23 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds
Despite, the hate surrounding Kuzma, he was the Lakers’ third scorer at times. He did take a step back from his previous first two seasons, back a huge part of that regression can be attributed to the addition of Anthony Davis. LeBron and AD gave the team two big scoring options who absorbed most of the shots. Adding any big star will lead to reduced opportunities from other players, especially when that star plays the same position as you.
Anthony Davis on Kyle Kuzma: "It's going to be a big year for him. He's going to play a bigger role for us this year and we need him to continue to do what Kuz do." pic.twitter.com/BS32n7btL7
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) December 17, 2020
Kuzma had to learn to adjust to his new role off of the bench on the fly. While he’s shown the production he can have when given the opportunity, his role this year may be no different than last season. All eyes will be on him to see if he can channel that kind of production off of the bench this season. However, the emergence of THT does complicate things for Kuz. His results will tell what his role with the team will be if it’s with this team. If his preseason performance is any indication, it’s that he’s in for a big year for the Lakers.