Since being the only member of the Lakers’ young core to survive the offseason purge, Kyle Kuzma has been putting in work with a number of big names. Primarily focusing on refining his shot and improving defensively, Kuzma has worked with famed shooting coach LethalShooter as well as former NBA defensive legend Ron Artest – aka Metta World Peace.
In his latest workout to surface, Kuzma was caught putting in work with one of his western conference opponents – and fellow rising star – Donovan Mitchell.
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Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma & Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell Team Up For Offseason Workout
Both players dramatically exceeded expectations relative to where they were drafted in 2017. While Kuzma slipped all the way to 27th, Mitchell was a late lottery pick that blossomed into the lead option for a playoff team in only his first season.
Heading into his third NBA season, Kuzma is preparing for a major step forward – even if his individual role on the team takes a slight backseat compared to last year. With the addition of DeMarcus Cousins – a true center that enables Davis to play his natural power forward spot – the two forward spots get fairly clogged with LeBron James and Davis. This likely pushes Kuzma to the bench where he should be expected to serve as the primary scoring option for the second unit.
Kuzma is also expected to be a part of USA Basketball’s training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup. This should give him even more opportunities to get in reps and learn from the league’s best players. It remains to be seen as to how all of Kuzma’s offseason work translates to the actual court but if he even sees marginal improvement in only his three-point shooting and defense, he could be one of the league’s best bench weapons.
Lakers Offseason Additions Put Team In Championship Hunt
Despite not making the playoffs since 2013, oddsmakers and analysts alike are putting the Lakers at the top of their Western Conference predictions. While rivaled by their roommates, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers are widely considered one of the top teams in the Western Conference alongside other powerhouses like Mitchell’s Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets.
While the addition of Anthony Davis helps move the needle the most for the Lakers, bringing on key role players like Danny Green & Avery Bradley while adding a high-ceiling reclamation project in DeMarcus Cousins should also play a large role in helping to bolster James and Davis’ supporting cast next season. Cousins looks to be the biggest “X-Factor” of the bunch and if he is able to return to something close to full strength, the Lakers would undoubtedly have the best frontcourt in the NBA.
If the Lakers do win the West and find themselves in the finals, they most likely get the misfortune of facing either a still-loaded 76ers team or Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. While both the Sixers and Bucks lost pieces this offseason, both teams remain incredibly strong and their overall continuity from last season to this year should play a big role in helping them get off to a strong start.