Despite their failure to acquire Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, most people initially thought that the Los Angeles Lakers already had their third star in Kyle Kuzma. Unfortunately, when the 2019-20 NBA season started, Kuzma failed to live up to expectations and has noticeably struggled to make himself fit alongside Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With his inability to efficiently co-exist with James and Davis, Kuzma is currently facing an uncertain future with the Purple and Gold.
In a recent conversation with Danny Green and Harrison Sanford on the Inside the Green Room podcast, Lakers legend James Worthy discussed several topics, including Kuzma’s third-year stint with the Lakers.
“When he came here, he [Kyle Kuzma] had great Summer League, but he was playing with a bunch of young players, so it was easy to blossom in that young generation movement. He had a volume of shots. Nobody was saying anything about him taking 20 shots. Finally, you put him on a real team with veterans. He had to really learn how to play with veterans and it was a struggle. Now he came close to being more efficient, a little more consistent. It’s LeBron and A.D., know your role and play your role,” Worthy said, as quoted by TalkBasket.net.
Worthy explained that it’s only understandable for Kuzma to struggle, as it is his first time playing on an NBA team with two legitimate NBA superstars. Sharing the court with two ball-dominant powerhouses isn’t easy, and Kuzma would need to make a huge adjustment to his game, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Worthy knows what it feels to be in Kuzma’s situation; in his earlier years in the league, Worthy also played alongside two NBA greats in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
To fix his current situation in Los Angeles, Worthy has one simple piece of advice for Kuzma: to know his role and understand that he’s not “the guy” on the team. Worthy said that Kuzma should do his best to make himself fit in the team if he’s still determined to stay with the Lakers. Though he’s still far from the player that the Lakers expected him to be, Worthy believes that Kuzma has already shown major improvement in his game.
Kuzma’s performance in the 2019-20 NBA season could determine his future with the Lakers. If he fails to impress the Lakers in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, there is a strong possibility that this would be his final season wearing the Purple and Gold.