Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Kuzma spoke to reporters about his targets for the upcoming marketing campaign on Thursday.
“I just want to build on what I did in the playoffs from a defensive standpoint … and improve my all-around game,” he stated.
Prior to the beginning of final season, Lakers common manager Rob Pelinka made positive that Kuzma knew he was an important a part of the group’s future.
In April 2019, Bill Oram of The Athletic reported Pelinka informed Kuzma he “was key to the Lakers’ future and that, unless it was a trade for one of the game’s three best players, he wasn’t trading him.”
Even when the Lakers had been negotiating with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, Kuzma wasn’t included within the ultimate trade bundle. The 25-year-old struggled by way of the regular season, setting career-lows in scoring common (12.8), rebounds (4.5), assists (1.3) and field-goal share (43.6).
Kuzma was additionally a poor defender, finishing 73rd out of 99 certified power forward in ESPN’s defensive actual plus-minus.
The Lakers defensive rating with him on the court throughout the playoffs was 105.2, barely higher than Davis’ mark of 106.4.
Even although no one will argue that Kuzma is a greater general defender than Davis, his enchancment within the playoffs is a sign that there is nonetheless extra room for him to develop as a player heading into his fourth season.
This is a vital season for Kuzma, who might be eligible for restricted free agency subsequent offseason if he does not sign an extension earlier than the Dec. 21 deadline.