Kyle Kuzma came into this new season with a lot to prove. On the heels of receiving a long-term extension from the Los Angeles Lakers, many wondered whether he would respond by fully living up to his potential or regressing in the way he began to last season.
Kuzma heard the noise too. He started to more forcefully address his haters on social media. His entire shoe commercial revolved around pushing back on criticism. And of course every time he suffered any sort of embarrassment, he found himself trending as a result.
Fortunately, instead of letting the hate and critique consume him, Kuzma used it for motivation and has actually become a really solid player in 2020-21.
This week, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green took to social media to give his honest assessment of where Kuzma currently stands.
“Kuz now play winning basketball,” he wrote on Twitter. “Amazing growth in that area.”
Green’s take was a response to Kuzma’s strong play against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. The 25-year-old ultimately finished with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks in 25 minutes of action.
Ben Simmons is always thinking about his teammates. https://t.co/SJJ3SeGKYe
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 3, 2021
The Lakers emerged from the outing with 114-93 victory due in no small part to his contributions.
So far this year Kuzma is averaging 9.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting from the field and 38.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc (career high), 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24 minutes of action per game.
While the stats obviously don’t jump off the page, Kuzma has settled into a confident role player position on a championship team – and a lot of guys would take that over being able to comfortably stat pad on bad teams for their entire careers.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.