2. Kyle Kuzma’s offensive fit with the Los Angeles Lakers moving forward
In the 2019-20 season, Kyle Kuzma’s offensive fit with the Los Angeles Lakers was odd.
The team was in desperate need of outside shooting to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as well as someone to create offense off the bench. With his second straight year of subpar outside shooting (31.6% from three) and by far his lowest points-per-game (12.8) and points-per-36 (18.4), it’s safe to say that Kuz didn’t meet those team needs.
In 2021-22, there’s even less of a need for bench scoring, with #1 and #2 in the 2019-20 sixth man of the year awards, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder coming on board.
Therefore, unless Kuz can take a big step forward as a floor-spacing option and an outside shooting threat, it’s hard to see how he fits on the Lakers roster for the 2022-23 season and beyond.
Is it possible that Kuzma recaptures some of his rookie-season shooting Magic (36.6% from three)? Absolutely. His technique is fundamentally sound, so there’s no reason that with hard work this offseason, he can’t become a threat from distance.
However, as per BBall Index numbers for last season, Kyle Kuzma is a combination of a poor catch-and-shoot option (45th percentile at 34.3%) who struggles to get open looks (21st percentile).
His off-ball movement was exemplary in the postseason, often the recipient of easy looks from LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, so if he can continue to build on that trend, not all is lost in regards to his offensive fit with the team moving forward.
However, if he regresses to his pre-bubble self, where he was in the 21st percentile league-wide for off-ball movement, Kuz could find his role on offense further reduced. Without a respectable outside shot and the threat of off-ball movement, his offensive skill set simply doesn’t mesh well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.