Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have been looking for another superstar to pair with the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James. The arrival of James has undeniably turned the Lakers from a rebuilding team to a legitimate playoff contender in the deep Western Conference. But even with the addition of James, the Lakers’ roster, as currently constructed, are not in a strong position to beat the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, for the Western Conference supremacy.
The Lakers got the opportunity to acquire another big name when the San Antonio Spurs made Kawhi Leonard available on the trading block. Unfortunately, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka refused to part ways with their young core and said that they first wanted to see how they would perform alongside LeBron James. More than a month since the 2018-19 NBA season started, it seems like the Lakers already got a second superstar on their roster, according to Colton Jones of Amico Hoops.
“It’s one of the worst-kept secrets across the league that the Los Angeles Lakers are in search of a proverbial ‘second star’ to be Robin to their Batman, LeBron James. Perhaps he’s already wearing Lakers’ purple and gold.”
Jones was talking about Kyle Kuzma, the No. 27 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. The 23-year-old power forward continues to establish an impressive performance in his second year in the NBA, and as of now, there is no doubt that he is currently the second-best player wearing the Purple and Gold. This season, Kuzma is currently averaging 16.6 points and 5.3 rebounds on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 3, 2018
So far, the term “Robin” to the Lakers’ “Batman” LeBron James seems a perfect way to describe Kyle Kuzma. Even before James signed with the Lakers, Kuzma admitted that he’s already been in constant communication with LeBron, asking him about improving his physique and performance on the court. In a recent interview, James said that Kuzma is trying to prove that he’s not just a scorer but also an incredible defender.
“He’s not allowing anybody to put a cap on him and saying he’s just a scorer, I think he wants to be more than that,” James said, via Yahoo Sports. “He’s continuing to get better and better, not just offensively but defensively. He’s just playing all-round solid basketball.”
The development of Kyle Kuzma and other young players like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart will be vital for the Lakers, especially with their goal to return to title contention. Even if Kuzma develops into a legitimate NBA superstar, the Lakers aren’t expected to stop chasing for another big name either via trade or free agency.