Many soured on Kyle Kuzma after an unimpressive season before the suspension. The Los Angeles Lakers had hoped he’d be the third star behind Anthony Davis and LeBron James but he hasn’t really proved that he can be yet. Since the NBA rebooted in Orlando, he’s looked a lot better and put up a great performance against the Denver Nuggets and scored the game-winning bucket. His solid play in the bubble has reignited talk about him being the third star for the team.
However, not everybody is buying that he’ll be able to keep up this production come playoff time. NBA analyst Ric Bucher ripped into the Lakers and Kuzma.
“If the Lakers truly believe that Kyle Kuzma has to be the third star for them to win a championship, then they must’ve started a Harry Potter book club in the bubble because they living some fantasy right now,” Bucher said on Speak for Yourself. “Kyle Kuzma isn’t even a starter. Kyle Kuzma has never played a minute of playoff basketball.”
Those comments might be a little unfair to Kuzma. He’d probably be a starter on a lot of other teams in the NBA. Yes, he hasn’t played a playoff game yet but that doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to be terrible. He has struggled a lot this year so it makes sense why some would doubt him. That said, he’ll finally have a chance to prove himself come playoff time.
Will Kuzma Stay in Starting Lineup?
Against the Nuggets, it was a good call to start Kuzma. He hasn’t started a lot of games this year but he had one of his best games of the year. However, Los Angeles doesn’t seem keen on starting him a lot in the future.
“I think it’s unlikely we keep him in the starting lineup. It’s something we have available depending on what matchup we’re looking at,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
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Vogel Explains Why Kuzma Won’t Start
Kuzma has always played better as a starter but with Anthony Davis playing power forward, there really isn’t room for him in the starting lineup. Vogel explained why he doesn’t typically fit.
“We’re likely going to need two quick guards against most of these teams we could be facing. It’s a small-ball league, so we’re going to need defensive speed on the perimeter. KCP and Danny are likely to be in the starting lineup. But if you get in different matchups, [the Nuggets] 3-man is 6’10” in Michael Porter Jr.
“So if you get into a matchup against Denver or another team that’s big, that could be an option for us. It’s just another part of the trial and error and evaluation of looking at different things during these seeding games.”
A bigger lineup that features JaVale McGee, Davis and Kuzma probably wouldn’t fare too well against some of the smaller team. That doesn’t really help Kuzma’s case to start. If plans to have a future as a Laker, he needs to prove to be a stud off the bench.