The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 117-91 on Sunday evening. It was the team’s second win in three games, a welcome turnaround following a four-game skid last week.
One interesting note about Sunday’s outing is that it was the third straight game that Kyle Kuzma came off the bench. LA relegated the 25-year-old to the second unit in the midst of the team’s losing streak, and so far, it’s paying dividends.
Kuzma ended up scoring 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 20 minutes of action against Golden State.
Afterward, he was asked how he felt about being taken out of the starting lineup.
“I just gotta control what I can control,” he said bluntly.
When Anthony Davis was ruled out for at least a month with an injury, Kuzma was inserted into the starting lineup in his place. In four games as a starter he recorded nearly 33 minutes per outing, but LA went 1-4. This prompted head coach Frank Vogel to demote him to the bench, which seems to have been the best decision for all parties involved.
It is unclear how much Kuzma’s missed buzzer-beater against the Washington Wizards, and LeBron James’ extremely irritated response to it, played a role in things.
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 28, 2021
On Sunday, while coming off the bench, Kuzma recorded the sixth most minutes of any Laker – behind James, Markieff Morris, Marc Gasol, Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso.
Kuzma is obviously a talented player. There’s a reason Draymond Green said what he said about him. But he’s also proven time and again that he simply isn’t able to carry the Lakers in the way a star can. Because of that, coming off the bench is clearly the best position for him.
The fact that Kuzma seems to taking that in stride is a testament to his good attitude and his desire to do what’s best for the Lakers.