On Sunday, when the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center, Kyle Kuzma missed two wide-open 3-point shots that would have put the Lakers team in a good position to extend their win streak to eight games, which would have tied their longest win streak since the 2010-11 season.
When Kuzma was presented with another opportunity to hit a pair of big 3-pointers against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, he shot the ball with the confidence of someone that hit two clutch 3-pointers in the previous game, except this time his shots actually hit the bottom of the net.
Kuzma ended the game with a season-high 23 points on 9-16 shooting from the field, including 3-6 from behind the arc. His previous season-high was 15 points on 7-16 shooting from the field. In his last two games, Kuzma has averaged 19 points on 51.7% shooting from the field, including 46.2% from 3-point range.
It’s been a process, but Kuzma is starting to resemble the player the Lakers have grown to love over the last two years, and he knows it too. In his walk-off interview with Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet, Kuzma said he’s starting to get his legs back under him:
“I’ve been finding my rhythm all season. Obviously I haven’t had a lot of time, but I feel like every single game if you watch I’ve been getting better and better with my rhythm and timing. And it kind of clicked a little bit. I know I can shoot, and that’s what it is.”
Kuzma knows what he needs to do in order to maximize his talents on a star-studded Lakers team, but he also thinks it’s important not to overthink his role:
"I’ve just got to do me, that’s all. I’ve just got to play like Kuz play. And hopefully I can get back to that and keep it going.”
The key for Kuzma going forward will be consistency. As good as Kuzma has been to start the season, we’ve seen this type of production from him before.
Last season, Kuzma had 11 games where he made at least three 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip or higher. He even had a game where he made seven 3-pointers in 12 attempts and yet, he finished the season shooting a career-low 30.3% from behind the arc.
In order for the Lakers to reach their full potential, Kuzma doesn’t need to just return to form — he needs to be the best version of himself he’s ever been. With the growth he’s showed on the defensive end, he’s already on the right track, but his development as a 3-point shooter will be crucial, too.
Kuzma will look to build on his big night in Phoenix against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.