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Laker Film Room: Why Kyle Kuzma is struggling from 3-point range

The Lakers need Kyle Kuzma to get back to shooting the way he did during his rookie season.

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

There have only been three players in NBA history who have shot six or more threes per game while shooting under 30 percent.

Jason “White Chocolate” Williams did it twice in the early-2000’s. Michael Adams did it for an awful Denver Nuggets team in the early 90’s that played even faster than the fastest-paced teams of today. And Kobe Bryant did it during his farewell tour when the Lakers were actively tanking as he was determined to empty the chamber of every last shot attempt that his right arm possessed.

Even after a week that saw him set a new career-high of seven made threes against the Oklahoma City Thunder before lighting up the Houston Rockets for four triples, Kyle Kuzma is still flirting with becoming the fourth, shooting just 30.2 percent on 6.2 threes per game.

The common thread amongst each player was an irrational confidence in themselves as shooters that did not match their current abilities. Supreme confidence in himself has gotten Kuzma this far — as it did for Kobe before him — but his high-volume struggles from behind the arc have hamstrung an offense that’s really needed him to shoot as well as he did during his rookie season.

There’s an argument to be made that Kuzma’s rookie season was the fluke, and this year is more aligned with who he is as a shooter. He shot 30.2 percent during his college career, only to surprise everyone with a 36.6 percent mark last year on 6.5 attempts. Does someone get hot for an entire season? Especially their rookie season?

The Lakers need the answer to that question to be a resounding “no.” Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are questionable 3-point shooters at best, so if their three most important players after LeBron James can’t convert off of James’ creation, it’s difficult to envision all of them in forum blue and gold long-term.

Kuzma has the most potential from deep — as displayed his night against the Thunder, which was spurred by, you guessed it, watching his rookie season highlights — but has a good deal of work to do to get back to being the consistent shooter he was last season.

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