Los Angeles Lakers: Is Kyle Kuzma a championship player?

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Does Kyle Kuzma have what it takes to help the Los Angeles Lakers win a title this season?

The Los Angeles Lakers have let the NBA trade deadline pass without trading Kyle Kuzma. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers made a trade that makes a strength (their bench) that led them to a 2-0 record vs. the Lakers this season even stronger.

The Lakers holding on to Kyle Kuzma was a huge message sent across the league that reiterates what LeBron has believed – The Lakers, presently constructed, have enough.

By trading for Marcus Morris (19.6 PPG), the Clippers acquired a player that would’ve filled a great need for the Lakers – 40-plus percent 3-point shooter and a versatile defender.

It additionally gives the Clippers five (!!) players who can give them 20 points at a given time in Kawhi Leonard (27.2 PPG), Paul George (21.3 PPG), Lou Williams (19.4 PPG), Montrezl Harrell (18.8 PPG) and Morris. The Clippers were not the only team to make deadline moves with a potential matchup with the Lakers in mind.

The Memphis Grizzlies, the present first-round opponent for the Lakers, obtained the versatility of Justise Winslow, whose size and game is similar to LeBron. The Denver Nuggets (39-18), the No. 2 team in the West (only five games behind the Lakers for the top seed) filled a need by acquired scoring punch off the bench in Jordan McRae.

Houston is ambitiously looking to stretch the Lakers bigs out while adding a LeBron defender by trading Clint Capela for Robert Covington. Their first game since going all-in on small-ball resulted in a 121-111 victory at the Lakers in February, in which Covington (6’7”) was the tallest player to play for Houston. He had 14 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Kuzma is has been inconsistent this year.

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For better or worse, Kyle Kuzma officially becomes the barometer of the Lakers championship effort. Observing from his performance vs. Houston and Golden State after the trade deadline along with his inconsistency throughout the season, if the Lakers are to win a championship this season, they will need LeBron and Anthony Davis’ “enough” to be of epic proportions.