Despite failing to acquire Kawhi Leonard in free agency this year, most people believe that the Los Angeles Lakers have already found their third superstar in Kyle Kuzma. However, though he managed to perform well as LeBron James’ sidekick last season, there are plenty of things that Kuzma needs to learn to become more useful for the Lakers, especially now that they also have Anthony Davis on their roster.
In a recent interview with Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Love, who served as the tertiary offensive option behind James and Kyrie Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers for three years, shared his advice to Kuzma on how he could be a more effective “third guy” for the Lakers.
“The key with being that third guy is taking advantage of the opportunity,” Love said, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
“When you’re the third guy, you know you’re going to sacrifice. When I got to Cleveland I joined two ball-dominant guys, so I had to find where I fit. I had to master my role on the team and know that I had to do other things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. When you have a chance to win a championship, there’s going to be some sacrifice.”
When Love arrived in Cleveland in the summer of 2014, he needed to make a huge adjustment with his game. From being the main man on the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love became the Cavaliers’ third scoring option. At first, Love struggled to excel in an off-ball capacity but as years went by, he found a way how to efficiently coexist alongside James and Irving in Cleveland.
Like Love’s first year with the Cavaliers, Kuzma is still undergoing a period of adjustment in his first season playing with two ball-dominant superstars — James and Davis — in Los Angeles. Though he experienced plenty of ups and downs in his first nine games in the 2019-20 NBA season, Kuzma is already offering strong evidence that he could really be the third superstar that the Lakers are expecting him to be.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has yet to officially promote Kuzma to the starting lineup. However, when he’s on the court, he has been showing good chemistry with James and Davis and proving that he could excel off the ball. Kuzma is still far from being considered as a legitimate superstar but if he continues to improve and manages to avoid any serious injury, he would undeniably make the Lakers a more dangerous team in the current season.