Los Angeles Lakers: Why Kyle Kuzma needs extended minutes


Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is falling out of favor with some, but there is an easy solution to getting him back on track.

Don’t be fooled, there’s nothing wrong with Los Angeles Lakers’ third-year forward Kyle Kuzma. Sure he has been inconsistent but the issue is simply getting looks and more minutes.

Kuzma is averaging 11.8 points in 23.5 minutes. Over his first two seasons, he averaged 31 and 33 minutes played. In those two seasons, he averaged 13.5 shot attempts and 15.5 shot attempts. This season he is averaging just over 10 shot attempts.

The talented forward is actually shooting it at a respectable 35% from three-point range after shooting it at just 31% last season.

His field goal percentage is at 42 percent, which is lower than his career number of 45%. Some of this attributed to the big decrease in minutes.

At times Kuzma looks simply uncomfortable. Over his first two seasons, he was used to being a priority in the offense. Now when he enters he’s often overlooked as either LeBron James or Anthony Davis are on the floor, or sometimes both are.

He has shown flashes of brilliance. On Christmas in the Lakers’ biggest game of the season against the Clippers he was terrific. Kuzma was arguably the Lakers’ best player when he went for 25 points in 27 minutes. Three days later against Portland he had 24 points in 30 minutes.

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kuzma is playing less than he did in his first two years. The first reason being that the Lakers are currently a much better team.

The second reason is being that Frank Vogel is running the show. This reason hasn’t been talked about much. The truth is Vogel has been a defensive coach his whole career. Kuzma is not known as a defensive stopper, his specialty comes as a scorer.

Trade rumors may be on his mind as well. At the moment things are heating up. There are even rumors that the Kings are willing to include Bogdan Bogdanovic in a trade package for him.

If the Lakers are willing to trade Kuzma it makes even more sense to give him north of 30 minutes. They don’t need to start him but play him like a starter to keep Anthony Davis at power forward.

If you play Kuzma the bigger minutes he can easily average 16-18 points. Not only will he help the Lakers more than someone like Danny Green or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but it can maximize his value to where it once was.

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Playing Kuzma more will also make things easier for Davis and LeBron as he will draw some attention.