The Los Angeles Lakers came into the season with lofty expectations from their fans, in part because LeBron James had just committed to at least three year, and because those are the type of expectations that come with one of the best players ever wearing the purple and gold every year.
Kyle Kuzma knows that, and he told Kevin Ding of Lakers.com that he intends on giving the fans what they want:
“When you’re a Laker, you’re held to different type of standard,” Kuzma said. “Playoffs, championships … that’s all people in L.A. care about—more so the championships. We haven’t been able to do that [in the playoffs] the past six years. It’s our job to get us there this year.”
In fact, Kuzma is so confident in his team’s abilities that he’s willing to guarantee that the Lakers will be playing in the postseason this year.
The real question for him is what they’re going to do when they get there:
“We’re going to be in the playoffs,” Kuzma said, “but we’ve got to figure out ways to advance in the playoffs.”
Assuming they make it, the biggest “X-Factor” for the Lakers in the playoffs will be their young players, including, but not limited to, Kuzma.
Kuzma has held his own offensively this season, averaging 19.1 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting from the field, but he’s regressed as a 3-point shooter, arguably his most valuable skill to this team.
Last season, Kuzma shot 36.6 percent from behind the arc on 6.1 attempts per game. This season, he’s shooting 32 percent from the 3-point line, including 33.8 percent on “wide open” 3-point attempts.
Luckily, Kuzma has started to show signs of life from behind the arc as of late, shooting 38.1 percent from deep on 6.5 attempts per game over the last 15 games. If he can carry that hot shooting into the postseason, the Lakers’ ceiling as a team is raised substantially.
If Kuzma’s confidence is infectious, we’ll get the chance to see him and the rest of the young core light it up in the playoffs.