Lakers’ Anthony Davis: ‘You Can Tell the Difference’ in Kyle Kuzma This Season

Lakers’ Anthony Davis: ‘You Can Tell the Difference’ in Kyle Kuzma This Season

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Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The shortest offseason in NBA history apparently wasn’t quick enough to stop Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma from improving his game.

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.

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

AD said “you can tell the difference” between Kuz from last year and this year, even if that’s just a 2-month difference.

“The way he’s playing right now, the game is slowing down (for him … he’s going to be a big piece for us.”

“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.

Kyle Goon @kylegoon

@DanWoikeSports Kuz said shooting better on the move was something Frank Vogel pointed out in the exit meeting for last season, and that’s where he’s spent a lot of the offseason putting in work.

Kyle Goon @kylegoon

Vogel on Kuzma so far this preseason: “He’s playing at a high level, he’s playing with confidence. He’s really not forcing any action. He’s getting his shots within the rhythm of the offense, and you have to honor him.”

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.

LeBron James @KingJames

Kyle Kuzma! https://t.co/W2oDJkFLP7

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.

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