The Lakers absolutely destroyed the Phoenix Suns last night as Devin Booker went down with yet another injury and the young Los Angeles core proved more than ever that they’re picking up their game. The score was a hefty 120-96, allowing younger players like Moe Wagner to sub in and get their first points as professionals, but everybody contributed in the all-around team win.
Six players were in double figures by the time the clock ran out (including Wagner, who put up an impressive 10 in his short time on the floor), and second-year player Kyle Kuzma was once again the team’s leading scorer with 23 points. He led against the Nuggets back on November 27th with 21 points on a night when LeBron James posted an uncharacteristically-low 14, and a debate began about who truly is the number-two guy on this Lakers squad.
LeBron James Notices Kuzma’s Improvement and Contribution
Well, that’s completely up to opinion at this point as Brandon Ingram continues to prove himself on the floor, but LeBron has talked increasingly about the improving game of Kyle Kuzma.
In his postgame interview, he said of Kuzma:
“I think he’s not allowing anybody to put a cap on him and just say that he’s a scorer. I think he wants to be more than that, and he’s been continuing to get better and better. Not only offensively, but defensively as well. He’s just playing just all-around solid basketball. his ability to make plays, his ability to rebound as of late…obviously we know how well he can score. But he wants to make more of an impact not only individually but for this team. He’s been playing great ball.”
Kuzma is averaging 16.6 points per game after last night’s win and has made a point to improve upon that defensive side of things as of late.
In his postgame interview, Kuzma was asked about what he’s doing to improve, especially with that defense.
“I’m just making a constant effort of just trying to be an all-around player, trying to defend and rebound, make the extra pass, just trying to play winning basketball,” he said.
In regards to his defense, when asked why he’s placed such an emphasis on it he replied, “Just because I know that I can do it.”
“I think the narrative is that I just don’t play defense, but if you watch as the season has progressed I’ve been getting better and better every game. Making that effort. I just wanna be a complete player. And all great players do it at both ends.”