“It’s been a long, grueling season. Both physically and mentally,” Kuzma said, and honestly, I felt that. I’m exhausted just from having covered it, so I can only imagine what it was like to play in it and go through all of the ups and downs of actually being on the team.
However, Kuzma also made it clear he isn’t asking for sympathy.
“That’s gonna come with the territory of playing in the NBA,” Kuzma said. “Everybody is human, and people don’t talk about that side of things a lot in life, but that’s way more important than physical exhaustion.”
As anyone who has ever been tired from physically exerting themselves vs. just mentally exhausted can tell you, that’s true, and it’s not that surprising coming from the same guy who spoke that same night about how much more fun last season was than this one. He’s not wrong, either, as the burden of expectations ultimately seemed to sink this team once it became clear that injuries and other factors were going to leave them well short of where they hoped to be.
It’s too late for the Lakers to fix that now, but for his part, Kuzma said he’s still doing all right, and that he just wants to make sure he doesn’t lose sight of his love for basketball
“Just trying to stay with it,” Kuzma said of his approach to the rest of the season. “Just trying to remain me and have joy for the game through all the ups and downs. Just trying to be me.”
On the bright side, he — and the rest of us — only have a few more games to fight through before the offseason is mercifully upon this team, and then we get to see what they do to ensure next year is a little more enjoyable. Until then, we should follow Kuzma’s lead and just try to enjoy what we can before resting up for next season.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.