Kyle Kuzma Reveals Cause For Post-Lakers Breakout

Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The Washington Wizards are doing their best to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff picture without their best player, All-Star Bradley Beal. They are only 1.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks for the final spots in the NBA Play-In Tournament, so they certainly have a chance to qualify.

One of the players that will help them accomplish that goal will be Kyle Kuzma. After some up-and-down seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he looks comfortable and is thriving in a lead role for the Wizards.

He recently spoke to The Athletic about that and touched on how his role is impacting his game. Being comfortable and playing his game has led to a breakout in Washington.

“It’s been a great change of pace for me, a change of scenery,” Kuzma said. “I did as much as I (could) to maximize (myself) when I was with my former team, with changing my role every single year for the betterment of the team and trying to fit in with great players.

“But here, it’s been a lot different, because I don’t necessarily have to do that. My role has changed here. If you think about the first 25 games, I was in a different type of role than I am now: more scoring and just doing more things with the ball. It’s just great to be in a situation where I can just be myself and do what I do, and not dummy myself down.”

LATEST NBA NEWS: John Wall Would ‘Welcome’ Reunion With Wizards In Offseason

Kuzma entered the NBA out of Utah as a scoring forward that did little else. He was in that role for two seasons before the game plan was altered greatly with the acquisition of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. Kuzma was the only young player not sacrificed in the deal and played a key role off the bench.

He found his niche more efficiently during the 2020-21 season compared to 2019-20, but the Lakers entered the last offseason looking to swing a big trade. As the only real asset on the team, Kyle Kuzma was part of the package to the Washington Wizards that sent Russell Westbrook out west.

Now in Washington, Kuzma has more freedom to expand his game and the results have been great. He has developed into an excellent rebounder, is an improving playmaker and has made strides defensively as well.

LATEST NBA NEWS: John Wall Would ‘Welcome’ Reunion With Wizards In Offseason

With more responsibility in Washington, Kuzma has grown as a player. He also credits having a consistent role and not looking over his shoulder as a reason for his success.

“It’s great, because I’m not looking over my shoulder. Every time I’m making a mistake, I’m not looking at my head coach. I can focus on the game. Obviously, I don’t want to make mistakes. But that’s a part of it when you’re growing. I’m 26, but I’m really growing.”

LATEST NBA NEWS: John Wall Would ‘Welcome’ Reunion With Wizards In Offseason

Playing through mistakes is part of the development process for a young player. With the Lakers competing for a title, Kyle Kuzma was not always afforded that opportunity after his rookie and sophomore seasons.

That stunted his development a little bit during his last two seasons with the Lakers, but he is no worse for the wear now. He is taking full advantage of his opportunity with the Washington Wizards and has developed into a key part of their rotation this season and into the future.

JJ Redick Rounds Out Lakers Staff With Experienced Coaches

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a quiet NBA offseason. Apart from most of their 2023-24 roster picking up their player options, the team is

Bronny James Dominates ROTY Bets Despite Longshot Odds

This year’s rookie class was a tough one to judge. Without a clear-cut best NBA player available, teams went with positions of need for their

Ja Morant’s Return Ignites Hope for Resurgent Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies were the premier young team in the NBA. After back-to-back competitive showings in the playoffs, their future was as bright as ever.