Former Laker Kyle Kuzma was asked this week about his tenure with the purple and gold. Reporters were looking for an explanation as to why the power forward has seen major success with the Washington Wizards.
“It’s been a great change of pace for me, a change of scenery,” Kuzma said. “I did as much as I could to maximize myself when I was with my former team, with changing my role every single year for the betterment of the team and trying to fit in with great players. But here, it’s been a lot different, because I don’t necessarily have to do that. My role has changed here. If you think about the first 25 games, I was in a different type of role than I am now: more scoring and just doing more things with the ball. It’s just great to be in a situation where I can just be myself and do what I do, and not dummy myself down.”
Credit to Kuzma for being honest when so many players lie to their audiences to avoid making enemies.
Kyle Kuzma says leaving Lakers for Wizards has been “great.” Why?
— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) March 9, 2022
When Kyle Kuzma first entered into the NBA in L.A., he was playing alongside fellow rookie Lonzo Ball to play a role of an uptempo scorer. Plenty transition opportunities on the wing, touching the basketball plenty, and was involved in all aspects of the game. Suddenly LeBron James chose to take his talents to the Lakeshow and the team dealt half the roster for Pelicans star Anthony Davis to create a dynamic duo. Common sense is that Kuzma was transitioning from being a lead attacker on offense down to the team’s third or fourth weapon.
His usage was now minuscule and it impacted how he played. As someone that covered the Lakers while hosting Lakers Nation, Kyle Kuzma wasn’t himself. He was choosing to be someone else to allow LeBron and Anthony Davis to share the spotlight with each other and ultimately win a title in 2020. We can’t get mad Kuzma loves extra responsibility he now sees as a Washington Wizard — this is what he always wanted.
Playing behind NBA superstars isn’t for everyone, especially with Kuzma’s skillset. Like Russell Westbrook, he needs the rock to cook and the Lakers couldn’t offer him that opportunity. Kyle Kuzma is averaging 17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game on the year. Heck of a bounce back for the former no. 27 pick.