Hello Lakers nation. Trevor Lane.
Here's senior writer for lakers nation dot com And this is the Lakers Nation news feed.
Continuing our season preview, working our way all the way up to the start of Lakers training camp today we're talking Kyle Kuzma, the sole survivor, the one guy the Lakers didn't trade to get.
We're gonna break it down what he can bring to the team this season, if healthy.
Quick update on that as well.
Before we get into it, though.
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All right, So Kyle Kuzma, the guy the Lakers didn't trade.
The Lakers traded, traded away long as a ball.
Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart. There.
Pick all of these assets in order to get Anthony Davis.
Kyle Kuzma was the one guy that there were rumored to really fight to keep.
And why did they do that? Well, I think a lot of it has to do with coups, but not just his play on the floor, but off the floor as well.
This is a guy who fits.
Los Angeles doesn't mind being in the spotlight.
Doesn't mind being a Los Angeles Laker, which they did. It's not for everybody.
It's sometimes it's tough being under that microscope because most seems to thrive.
He also has excellent chemistry with LeBron James.
You look at all the players on the Lakers team last season, and Cosma generated the most assists from LeBron James passes compared to the entire team.
No one generated Morris's for LeBron James, then Kyle Kuzma.
He seemed to adjust really, really well the playing alongside with LeBron James, which isn't easy.
We saw Brandon Ingram struggle with that at the beginning of the season, took him some time loans a ball was dealing with some injuries, and then it took him a little bit of an adjustment to get used to playing with LeBron as well.
Cocu's would kind of hit the ground running.
He didn't have a problem with playing alongside.
LeBron didn't back down.
He's got that kind of dare I say Mamba mentality not to put him on the same level as Kobe Bryant or anything like that.
That's ridiculous, Okay, but he's got that mindset.
He's gonna go out and do his thing.
He's going to get his numbers no matter what.
No matter who else is on the floor with him, Kyle Kuzma feels like he belongs now.
That's not to say it's all good.
There's a lot for Kata Koosman of work on, and I'm telling you right now, there's three areas that we need to be watching for this season.
For Kyle Kuzma, those three areas.
If you could do these three things, he's gonna have a great season.
It's defense cutting to the basket and three point shooting.
If he can do those three things well, we could be looking at big things for kind of cruise missiles.
Break those down defense.
Look as a rookie defense is not good, gets caught turning his head too much.
Paying attention doesn't make the reeds quickly enough on the defensive end, which when you're playing down low, you've got to be that person that is, that is reacting to what's going on on the offensive end.
They need cow husband to be able to make the right read and then react accordingly.
Sometimes, even when he was guarding one on one, he's just a little bit slow.
In his reaction time as a software last season, he got a bit better.
Look, people so criticized him for his defense.
He was a little bit better.
Cock, whose mother? One thing I'll say about him is that he's very, very aware of his own limitations.
He's got a good head on her shoulder.
She understands where he needs to improve, and he criticizes himself constantly, and he works hard to make sure that he's getting better in those areas.
He worked a ton on his defense last summer, and even though it didn't show up on the floor at all times, he did get a little bit better.
So if Cruz my can get better as a defendant, particularly as a perimeter defender.
I think that's gonna be really important this season because the Lakers we're going to need him to play some three.
They don't have natural small forwards on their roster.
Aside from LeBron James, you could ask Danny Green to slide down, but I think most likely what we're going to see.
Quite a bit of his Kyle Kuzma sliding up and take him some minutes at small forward.
We saw him do it a little bit with Team USA, focusing on his perimeter defense on the inside.
He focuses just on keeping his arms up and not fouling.
And that's fine for common cause.
But he's not gonna be a shot blocker.
He doesn't have that kind of build.
Sometimes he gets muscled on the inside so he doesn't grab boards like a typical power forward would.
By the way, I think that's gonna be his best position is power forward.
But all in all, I think we're college cruise.
We can really grow by leaps and bounds is how well he defends guys on the perimeter.
That's gonna be the key for him to becoming a good defender.
Like I said, he's not gonna be a shot blocker at the rim.
He's not going to be this big, strong physical presence in the pink in the paint.
That's just not his build.
But where he can make an impact is by preventing drives from getting into the paint.
Begin with, and that means his foot speed and his reaction time is gonna have to improve his cuts to the basket.
Already pretty good.
When teams would pay attention to LeBron James and as soon as somebody turned their head, there was Kyle Kuzma cut in the basket.
LeBron found Cooze a number of times last season, and you could only imagine that that effect is gonna be magnified when Anthony Davis is on the floor as well.
And defensive defenses have another guy to worry about.
So Kuzma, his cuts to the basket already solid again.
So I'm doing it with Team U. S. A.
He very well understands that he can score easy baskets if he could just make the right cut at the right time.
He's not the best athlete out there on the floor.
He's not not athletic, but he's not the best athlete on out there on the floor.
He's not just gonna blow by everybody off the dribble, But if he could make smart cuts, you can get easy baskets that way.
And that's a great way.
Increase your point total and increase your efficiency.
If you can get some backdoor cuts rolling to the rim, he's pretty good driving to his right as well.
He's got a nice little little running hook shot that he Banks, and he's got the ability to finish rolling to the basket.
And so it's gonna be really important that Kuzma continues to make smart cuts to the rim and takes advantage of teams that are paying too much attention to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both players that confined him on a cut.
They can't hit those passes now, the third areas, the three point shooting.
This is the area that everybody harps on big, big concerns with that because as a rookie, everybody was thrilled.
He shot 37% from three that the sky's the limit.
This guy's gonna be hitting 40% in no time and then well, that second season dropped all the way down to 30% and it goes against what you would think LeBron James on the floor crews was going to get tons of open looks, His percentage should increase.
And really, it should have.
If you look at all of his stance, most of his shots from three were either open or wide open.
Yes, he did chuck up a few off balance shots off the dribble and things like that.
But they those ones just kind of stand out.
Most of his looks were wide open.
So with him getting so many White Open looks, why didn't he knock him down? Well, I mean, it's nothing more than just He missed the shots.
And so he has been working over the summer to improve his shooting.
We know the Lakers just hired a shooting coach and former Laker legend Mike Penberthy.
So Kuzma is going to be trying to dial in his three point shot again.
We saw him working on it with Team USA, something that he had some success with.
If cosmic can get back to his rookie level of 37% changes his efficiency as a player completely, just like when we talked about Danny Green the other day, Danny Green, at 46% from three like you was last season with the Raptor.
Totally different player.
Totally different efficiency than dating Green at 36% which we saw two seasons ago with the San Antonio Spurs.
For Kyle Kuzma, 30% from three means defenses are gonna care about him.
You can shoot 30% from three for the corner, and nobody's gonna really worry too much about getting out to cover you at 37% 38% dare we say he gets somewhat close to 40% if you can get a shot back on track.
That's a player that opposing defenses were gonna worry about on the perimeter.
And they're gonna focus on getting out to which opens up space on the inside.
For guys like Anthony Davis, like Dwight Howard, like JaVale McGee, LeBron James, everybody else who's gonna be cutting to the rim, going to be extremely important for the Lakers floor spacing.
We know how much of a priority the place on shooting this this summer, but they need Kong.
Qiu's might be able to knock down those open looks that are being generated by LeBron and Anthony Davis.
What's the point in sucking defense's into the paint when LeBron drives.
If you can't make them pay when the ball gets kicked out.
So gonna be important for Cock.
Guzman, to not only pull defense is out there with him but also knocked down shots when defenses do collapse.
So that's pretty much it.
That's what you need to see from Kyle Kuzma.
I've always said he's an underrated passer.
He's a better pastor and he gets credit for, but I'm not too worried about that again.
It comes down to three things for Kong Qiu's MMA defense cuts to the basket and three point shooting again.
Those three things, if we can get improvements and all three of those areas Calico's but could be in for a big, big season.
Now, of course, we have to mention Marc Stein of The New York Times did report today that unfortunately, it's looking like how Kuzma is going to be out for the beginning of training camp with the Lakers.
Steel is still dealing with a Stein specified a stress issue.
We didn't know what it was, what the injury was to his foot or ankle that caused him to be cut from Team USA now it sounded like it was a stress issue with the foot, so hopefully that's going to improve and get him out there on the floor sooner rather than later.
Hopefully, of course, by the time the season opens, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Cal Koosman is certainly an important piece for the Lakers.
They did everything they could hang on to him.
They see a bright future here, going to be imperative that he's on the floor as much as possible.
Like the Lakers have already lost.
DaMarcus cousins can't be losing Kong Qiu's Metiers.
Hopefully, this is a very short term thing, and even if he has missed the beginning of training camp, he'll be joining them shortly.
But they were gonna have to keep our eyes peeled for more info on what exactly is going on with Cosma and that injury? All right, for more on Kyle Kuzma and everything else going on in the world of the Los Angeles Lakers, as always, Guy's head over the Lakers nation dot com, your home for everything. Lakers.
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