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LeBron James joined the Road Trippin’ podcast — hosted by Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and Allie Clifton — and decided to thank his teammates individually for their contributions to the 2020 championship. The gesture may sound nice in theory, but it fell flat since he forgot to mention Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma was a major disappointment this season, and even he would say he should’ve played better. LeBron came to Kuz’s defense last week, jumping on Twitter to predict a bounce back season for his struggling teammate, but he may have just undone last week’s public expression of support with this stunt.
LeBron can be calculating, so he likely didn’t forget Kuzma when he identified key contributors by name. He deliberately avoided mentioning him because Kyle Kuzma was that bad for the 2020 Lakers.
I personally defended Kuzma and his skillset, even though he did little on the court to help the Lakers through the Western Conference playoffs or the Finals against the Miami Heat.
Kuz’s jump shot was broken all season. He claimed he was working with Instagram trainer “Lethal Shooter,” but he continued to make rookie mistakes. The third-year Laker, at times, appeared out of sorts on offense. He rarely hit an open shot, making it a long year for Kuzma under the L.A./LeBron spotlight.
Kuz’s tough year
LeBron probably should have given Kuzma a mention, as he actually took major steps on the defensive end. Defense wasn’t what Kuz was expected to provide, but at least he swallowed his pride and helped where he could.
Kyle Kuzma averaged 12.8 points per game and 31.6% from three, so his shot is going to need to improve in 2021. If it doesn’t, not even Kuz’s PS5 giveaways can save him from a trade before next year’s deadline.