Los Angeles Lakers: Post All-Star break player rankings

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

9.) Kyle Kuzma

Out of all the players on this Lakers roster, Kyle Kuzma has been by far the most disappointing player relative to his preseason expectations. He was seen by many as being a legitimate third option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but that just simply hasn’t manifested itself this season. Here are Kuzma’s numbers for the season — 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 11.8 PER.

Some context is important though when it comes to evaluating Kuzma, such as the fact that he came into this season with some injuries that kept him sidelined throughout training camp and the start of the regular season, meaning he was a step behind everyone else in terms of developing chemistry with the team and learning an entirely new offensive scheme.

It also doesn’t help that positionally, Kuzma is a difficult payer to categorize, as his size, lack of strength, and shooting ability means he can be anywhere from a tall shooting guard, to a stretch four.

This positional puzzle for Kuzma also means that defensively the Lakers are a marginally worse team when he’s on the floor, with opponents seeing a +3.2 increase in points scored per 100 possessions. To his credit, it’s not for a lack of trying when it comes to Kuzma’s defensive concerns, it’s just that he has a fundamental lack of defensive awareness.

For all of Kuzma’s woes however, his value lies in his ability to get buckets, and get hot at a moment’s notice. On a team that lacks any kind of reliable shot creation outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Kuzma has shown the ability to be unafraid to take a shot, which is what you need when you find yourself in a tough spot during a game.