3. Kyle Kuzma
I do not get all the hype around Kyle Kuzma. He is a fine basketball player but Laker fans expect him to be so much more than he really is. Laker fans expect him to be on the level of other young forwards such as John Collins and Jusuf Nurkic and he simply isn’t.
Kuzma had one fantastic showing this season but outside of that he has not been that great. His averages are not bad and he is (to his credit) shooting better from beyond the arc. However, his 38.2% three-point percentage is still a bit misleading.
If you take out his 20-point showing against Minnesota (in which he shot 4-6 from deep) he is shooting 34.7%. One really good half has propelled his percentage to the level that makes it seem as if he is becoming an above-average shooter.
Kuzma is averaging 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, but it is the advanced numbers that are more concerning. Kuzma has the worst offensive rating on the team, the second-worst defensive rating (among players who have played more than 30 minutes), a -2.2 OBPM, a team-worst -1.8 DPBM and the second-worst VORP.
Kuzma is supposed to be an offensive playmaking forward and you can sacrifice a bit on the defensive end as long as he is producing offensively, but he simply isn’t. His .532 eFG% is the third-worst on the team. He is not efficient offensively and is a negative on the defensive end.
We have been waiting for Kuzma to take that much-promised “next step” for a year now. After getting a new contract from the Lakers (which is very trade-friendly, keep in mind), it is time for Kuzma to step up.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.