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After his 23-point outburst against the Phoenix Suns in Wednesday’s preseason contest, Kuzma was lauded by teammate Anthony Davis, who noted just how different Kuzma’s game already feels.
“The way he’s playing right now, the game is slowing down [for him],” Davis told reporters. “… He’s going to be a big piece for us.”
The Lakers defeated the Suns, 112-107.
Kuzma connected on eight of 15 field goals and went 4-of-8 from beyond the arc to go with three rebounds and two assists.
Preseason or not, it was exactly the type of aggressiveness the Lakers love to see out of a depth player who has the potential to break out.
Now 25 years old and in his fourth year in the NBA, Kuzma is coming off a season in which his production dipped to 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game following the acquisition of Davis. One season playing together seems to have helped ease any growing pains and create some chemistry in the frontcourt. Davis went for 10 points and four rebounds against the Suns while playing just 18 minutes in his exhibition debut.
Earlier this month, LeBron James tweeted that Kuzma would be the player to take a giant leap in the NBA this year.
If the Lakers star is correct, Los Angeles’ road to repeating as champion gets significantly easier.
Considering Kuzma is able to become a restricted free agent after this season, any improvement in his play could make for a larger payday at the end of the year, too.
All of it seems more than within reach for the Utah product. At least as far as Davis and James are concerned.