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Podcast: Can Kyle Kuzma live up to his sophomore season hype?

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The Lakers found a diamond in the rough with Kyle Kuzma. Can he build on a strong rookie campaign?

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Kuzma was one of the league’s most surprising players (let alone rookies) and by surpassing his draft position is heading into next year with some extremely lofty expectations. Whether he can meet those will make quite the difference in what the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of.

To discuss Kuzma’s rookie season and look ahead to him as a sophomore, I welcome Aaron Larsuel of “The Official Lakers Podcast.” He’s now considered a friend of the show now that he’s been on twice. Them’s the rules.

Before we get into the details of the thing, here’s brief refresher on the format of this series of player previews:

In segment one, we discuss the season(s) the player had to get them to where they are now. That kind of context is critical in properly setting expectations moving forward.

Segment two covers what we’d like to see from the player individually.

Then, in the the third segment, we figure out how those individual expectations fit into the team construct.

We start by discussing what exactly it was about Kuzma as a rookie that most impressed us. Aaron and I agreed on this and it wasn’t necessarily any one specific skill. Kuzma’s ability to develop over the course of the arduous NBA season says a ton about his work ethic and should excite fans who are looking for growth in the years to come.

Speaking of growth, Aaron and I were once again on the same page regarding which aspects of the game Kuzma needs to improve (a lot): Defense. If Kuzma really wants to be a valuable role player, he’ll have to approach something close to mediocrity on the defensive end.

We get into how Kuz fits into the rotation, what that rotation might look like and how his role might change with LeBron James on the team in the third segment.

As always, this is just a tidbit of the full context given in the show. Listen to the full discussion below and please check out old episodes or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.