Los Angeles Lakers: Keeping Kyle Kuzma was the right move

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Was keeping Kyle Kuzma the right move for the Los Angeles Lakers?

The Los Angeles Lakers stayed put at the trade deadline a few weeks ago. Many believed Kyle Kuzma would be moved, but the Lakers decided to keep the forward.

Keeping Kuzma will prove to be the right decision for the Lakers in due time. The truth is the Lakers weren’t going to get anything with the value of Kuzma in return if they decided to move him. Options to trade for Kuzma were veteran players like Derrick Rose and Marcus Morris Sr.

As good as Rose and Morris have played the decision to trade Kuzma for either would be wrong for various reasons.

Any deal involving Kuzma for Rose didn’t make sense for the Lakers. Yes, Rose is averaging 18.2 points and 5.8 assists but he doesn’t fit with the Lakers like some would expect him to. The first reason being that he needs the ball in his hands to play well. With LeBron and Anthony Davis the ball won’t be in his hands nearly how he had it in Detroit.

Also Rose is only a 31% 3-point shooter and he has never been a terrific playmaker. When LeBron goes to the bench he can hold the fort down but he won’t be nearly as effective when LeBron is on the floor, which would be most of the game especially in playoffs.

Rose would bring shot creating and experience to the Lakers but dealing Kuzma for him wouldn’t have been smart.

The name that had the most talk coming to the Lakers was Marcus Morris. Instead Morris was dealt to the Clippers in a deal for Mo Harkless and Jerome Robinson.

Morris is having the best season of his career and it’s not close. A major reason has been simply opportunity on a terrible Knicks team. The 30-year-old is averaging 19 points on an impressive 43 percent from deep. It hasn’t been all pretty for Morris who is shooting 44 percent overall and averaging only 5.4 rebounds in over 32 minutes a game.

Morris does bring toughness, experience, and is a big game player. Trading Kuzma for him just didn’t make much sense. Morris is not going to put the numbers he has with a good team and has never rebounded much. What people don’t realize is that if you throw Kuzma with the Knicks he would be putting up similar or even better overall numbers than Morris. When Morris has played on good teams he has put up around 11-12 points in roles as a borderline starter or sixth man.

So far with the Clippers he is averaging 11 points and 5.7 rebounds in three games.

As good as the two players have played you don’t trade a young player like Kuzma for them. Kuzma is only 24-years-old and can still improve. He is averaging 12.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 24.7 minutes.

Yes, Kuzma has been inconsistent and frustrating to watch at times but he simply hasn’t had enough looks. Kuzma is averaging a career low in both playing time and shot attempts. He is only averaging 10.6 shot attempts. The first two years of his career he shot 13.5 and 15.5 times a game.

He is also playing with two top five players in the league. His touches are simply not there. Coach Frank Vogel must consider throwing Kuzma out there over Danny Green or Avery Bradley as a starter. With LeBron running the point, Kuzma can easily slide in at the small forward spot to keep Davis at his preferred power forward spot.

When Davis missed time, Kyle Kuzma shined. In two straight games against Dallas and Oklahoma City he had 26 and 36 points respectively. He showed what he is capable of when given massive opportunity.

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The Lakers have had the best record in the Western Conference all season. Dealing their only young asset for an aging veteran would’ve been a bad decision. Good thing Rob Pelinka understood this.