clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kyle Kuzma says the ‘No. 1 goal’ for the Lakers is to make the playoffs, and he’s expecting to have ‘a big year’

Kyle Kuzma is expecting big things for the Lakers and himself next season.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 2 Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images

With 14 guaranteed contracts on their books, the Los Angeles Lakers are one player away from finalizing their regular season roster. Among those 14 players are six players from last year’s roster, including Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, the last man standing from the team’s young core after the Anthony Davis.

Kuzma is almost three years older than Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, who are now with the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s enjoyed more success in his young career than the pair of former No. 2 overall picks. Last season, Kuzma was the second-leading scorer for the Laker behind LeBron James, averaging 18.7 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting from the field. However, in spite of the scoring leap Kuzma made playing alongside James, the Lakers were unable to make the playoffs last season.

This season, playoffs are the primary goal for the Lakers, Kuzma told MLive at his second annual free basketball camp in Flint:

“Well, we’ve got to make the playoffs. That’s the most important thing. We haven’t made the playoffs in a couple years, so I think that’s the No. 1 goal right now.”

In order for the Lakers to be more than just a playoff contender this season, though, Kuzma needs to continue his progression as a scorer and takes steps towards becoming a better defender. While all of the offseason talk ultimately means nothing, Kuzma said he’s working hard to come back better than he’s ever been next season:

“I want to just do as much as I can. I’ve been working super hard this summer on my game and my body, so I’m expecting to have a big year.”

Kuzma has spent most of the offseason working with popular shooting coach Lethal Shooter and there were rumors early in the summer that he was picking the brain of former Defensive Player of the Year and Lakers fan favorite Metta World Peace. Those things alone won’t fix his problems, but they’ll get him closer to where he needs to be.

The closer Kuzma gets to where needs to be, the closer the Lakers get to championship contention.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Silver Screen & Roll Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Los Angeles Lakers news from Silver Screen & Roll