Kyle Kuzma is set to start a new chapter in his career with the Washington Wizards. After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, the forward was traded to the capital team in the move that sent Russell Westbrook to Southern California.
In his last two campaigns with the purple and gold, Kuz received plenty of criticism around the league. Now that he's on a different team, in a different situation, Kuz is ready to show he can do much more than he showed in the past two seasons.
Talking with Chase Hughes of Yahoo! Sports, the 26-year-old discussed his expectations entering the 2021/22 season. Kuz said he hopes to live up to the hype around him and not let down Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard.
"Coming to this organization, [general manager] Tommy [Sheppard] has said they have high expectations for me. I want to withhold that," Kuzma said.
Kuzma vowed to get better at shooting the ball. His numbers weren't the best last season, and this summer presents a big opportunity to him to lift them up.
"That’s something that I’ve really worked on this offseason. Being able to, whether it’s pick-and-roll, break a guy down. Getting just a quick and efficient shot, whether that’s off-the-dribble, getting into the midrange. That’s something I want to continue to improve on because I believe I can do that at a high level," Kuzma said.
He's ready to help his team however, even if that means taking a passer role instead of trying to collect 20+ points every night. The Wizards have Bradley Beal as their primary scorer and other young talents to help the shooting guard. Whatever the task is, Kuzma is willing to take it.
"This offseason I’ve really done a great job of hammering my ball-handling. I think last year with the Lakers, I did a great job of showing and being a willing passer, somebody that can get guys open and get guys open looks," Kuzma said.
"For me, adding a handle and a more consistent, stronger one will really allow me to be an on-ball type of guy. Not only just a scorer and be that type of threat, but be a threat to get guys open. Get Rui open shots, get Brad easier looks, help Spencer get downhill, get big [Daniel] Gafford pick-and-roll lobs; all those things, it’s going to help."
Following a rough couple of seasons with the Lakers, Kyle is ready for a fresh start, trying to take the Wizards to compete in the Eastern Conference. He's confident in his skills; if his game reaches the next level, Washington will have big chances to compete for a playoff spot.