Since his arrival in Los Angeles, much has been made about the supporting cast the Lakers put around LeBron James, or lack thereof. However, James isn’t concerned. He’s optimistic about his new teammates, and thinks a few of them will steal of the hearts of fans sooner rather than later.
“(Lance) and Kuz are gonna be the fan favorites,” James said after Thursday night’s 128-123 win over the Sacramento Kings. “You can see it already. Kuz checks in the game, you can hear the Kuz chants and then anytime Lance gets his hands on the ball you hear the fans.
“Lance has played exceptionally well. He plays with energy, passion and love for the game, and he makes plays and it’s very good for our ball club.”
Kuzma solidified himself as a fan favorite almost immediately during his rookie season with the Lakers, leading L.A. to a summer league championship in Las Vegas and carrying that play into the regular season, earning him a spot on the All-Rookie First Team. To say Kuzma will be a fan favorite implies he’s not already, which I’m not entirely sure is true.
As for Stephenson, it’s easy to see why he might emerge as a fan favorite among some Lakers fans because of his flashy handles and meme-able celebrations, but those same things could have the opposite effect as well.
Head coach Luke Walton will try and implement a fluid offense built around ball movement. Stephenson is capable of being a playmaker, but more often than not he enjoys going one-on-one with his defender.
If Stephenson consistently comes off of the bench and disrupts the flow of the offense, it’s not hard to imagine him falling out of favor with the fans.
However, it’s still far too early to say who will be a fan favorite this season and who won’t. All that matters right now is that Kuzma and Stephenson have the backing of James and the coaching staff, and right now that’s all that matters.
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