Kyle Kuzma came into the season with lofty expectations for himself: He wanted to step in alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the third superstar on the Lakers. Aware of the amount of attention those two would receive from opposing defenses, and how critical spacing would be for the team to fire on all cylinders, Kuzma worked diligently all summer on reshaping the jump shot that failed him last season.
The work hasn’t paid off yet. Kuzma was shooting a frigid 29.7% from behind the arc prior to the NBA’s coronavirus shutdown. To figure out potential causes for his shooting struggles, I studied the film and came away with two key mechanical issues and one contextual factor. I detailed all three in the following video:
The hope of all Lakers fans is that Kuzma can figure things out in time for the NBA restart, and turn into the third scorer the Lakers need to complement LeBron and AD. Even if it doesn’t happen in the short-term, I am confident he can normalize these new changes in the medium and long-term and have them become second nature.
Regardless of timeline, if there’s one thing that I do know about Kuz with some certainty — based on multiple accounts from teammates, trainers, and coaches like current Lakers assistant and lead of player development Phil Handy — it’s that he’ll go to every length possible to figure out the solutions to any issues he has, listen to feedback about them, and put in the required time, work and energy to turn the ship around.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room.