The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped their last four games after a scorching start, and suddenly some doubters are coming out of the woodwork — even from unexpected places.
The latest critic is Kyle Kuzma’s trainer Clint Parks, who called out LeBron James after the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers on Christmas Day.
“Watching Kawhi highlights from yesterday. NOBODY wants to speak on how sharp his skill set is compared to Lebrons. It’s clear who’s really in the LAB and who isn’t. Let me hear the excuses I’m on vacation I got nothing but time.”
He continued: “Turn the film on. Somebody was dodging SMOKE yesterday and it wasn’t Kawhi.”
Kuzma hasn’t spoke on the comments, but released an awkwardly-timed tweet that read: “Call a spade a spade.” He deleted the tweet shortly after publishing it.
James has looked sharp in his 17th NBA season, despite some recent injury concerns. He’s missed just one game and is averaging 34.9 minutes, 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.6 rebounds.
There hasn’t been any substance to trade rumors, but Kuzma has long been speculated to be a trade piece if the Lakers decide to make another deal this season.
Kyle Kuzma & Clint Parks Have Long History
Kuzma and Parks have been working together for years, back to his days at Utah according to 247Sports. He gave an interview to the site about his history with Kuzma.
“Kuz ended up reaching out to me during his redshirt year. He heard about my work with Kawhi Leonard and Tony Snell, and wanted to start working with me because he felt he was similar to them. So, our relationship has just grown from his redshirt year and we continue to work together, and as he’s doing well, it’s helped me and I’ve had opportunities to work with a lot of really good players,” Clint Parks said in an interview with UteZone.
The article also quoted Parks saying he started an AAU team that had some “pretty good players come through,” including Kawhi Leonard.
Kyle Kuzma ‘Sacrificing’ in New Role With Lakers
Kuzma has had to sacrifice some of his stats this season, coming off the bench. He’s down nearly 10 minutes per game from a year ago and is averaging 11.9 points and 3.5 rebounds.
“I’m just being patient. Obviously, coming in, I knew I had to sacrifice a lot. It’s kind of hard sometimes being a young player and you see other young players [around the league] that you think you are better than in better [playing] situations,” Kuzma told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “But I just got great vets around me that keep me centered and chill. I have a chance to win a championship in my third year. I can do whatever I want after winning one. I’m just being positive.
“For me, you’re not going to get the same touches, same shots and same vibe on the court. It’s something you really have to adjust and adapt to certain things. We live in a society where everybody wants you to be great now and every time out. But it’s going to take time.”
Kuzma had his best game of the season against the Clippers, scoring 25 points in 27 minutes.