3-and-D Wings: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Wesley Matthews
To start, I’d like to apologize to Wes Matthews, I know that’s not him in the picture, but it’s the only one with Kuz and KCP, and since they have the longer tenures on LA, they get the nod.
Regardless, Wes, KCP, and Kuz will be the 3-and-D wings every championship team needs. Wes and KCP have made careers out of this role and will undoubtedly continue to do what they do well.
I’ve literally had dreams of Wes and KCP picking the pockets of opponents, dishing to LeBron, running to their spot in the corner before draining a three. That sequence will definitely be familiar to Laker fans by the end of the season.
I was hesitant to put Kyle Kuzma on this slide, in the 3-and-D role, for a couple of reasons. One, he’s not a great defender, and two, he shot 31% from deep last season… So naturally, one would not assume he would fall into this category. But I did, mostly because I’m not entirely sure what to expect from Kuz this year.
He’s shown the ability to score in his first three campaigns, and even showed flashes of playmaking and defensive potential last year. And to be fair, I don’t think Kuz is as big of a liability on defense as the media tends to make him out to be. He’s not horrible, he’s just not great.
This is, however, a contract year for Kuz and I believe he’ll play like it. I won’t make any statistical projections but I believe he’ll prove a lot of people wrong this year, playing solid defense on opposing team’s forwards and hitting a handful of threes per game.