Kyle Kuzma Proving Lakers And Doubters Wrong With Wizards

Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Washington Wizards have gotten off to a strong start this NBA season. They are currently 3-1, even winning one game without their All-Star, Bradley Beal. They have a deep, talented roster courtesy of the moves that they made this offseason.

There are 10 players on the team averaging at least 17.5 minutes per game as of right now. Their rotation could expand even more once Rui Hachimura returns to the court from his injury.

One of the players performing best for the Wizards this season thus far is Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma was acquired, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook.

Washington was lucky to land Kuzma, as there were numerous teams showing interest in him this offseason. He thought he was being traded to the Sacramento Kings until the Wizards swooped in at the last second. It is a deal that has paid off for both sides.

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Kuzma has taken over the starting power forward spot and is playing very well. He is averaging 13.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 steals in 33.3 minutes per game. While there were some people ready to give up on him with the Lakers, he just needed a chance to showcase his talent again.

Kuzma was excellent his first two years in the NBA, averaging 16.1 and 18.7 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers made some changes to the roster after that, bringing in Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma saw his opportunities lessen. He was also moved to the second unit, where his consistency was up and down.

But, when he was given a chance at extended playing time, he took advantage. His numbers improve across the board as a starter, as he averages 5.8 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists more per game than when he comes off the bench. Frank Vogel knew whenever Davis had to miss a game, he could turn to Kuzma to help fill the void.

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As a starter with the Washington Wizards, expect his number to remain solid. He hasn’t shot the ball well yet this season, but that should only get better once the team builds up their chemistry. Playing off of Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie should lead to plenty of good scoring opportunities throughout the season for Kuzma to take advantage of.

Given how well he has acclimated himself thus far, it would not be surprising to see Kyle Kuzma hold down the starting spot even when Hachimura returns to the lineup.