With the arrivals of LeBron and Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma became expendable for the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead of being a piece for the future, he became a role-player alongside two great superstars.
At first glance, this arrangement doesn't sound to be in Kuzma's favor, but the young forward told ESPN’s “First Take” crew on Wednesday that it was actually a great thing for his career.
“For me, it’s all about trying to add the win to championship basketball, something different than I’ve really had in my young career. Over the first two years, it was just that development: get in, just try to get your feet in. Then, you jump into a situation where the only thing that matters is winning, so you just try to build championship habits. This year, I got a taste of that and kind of developed that mentality. Obviously, playing behind Anthony Davis and LeBron James — for me, as a young player — it could have been a little different.
“Young players, they want to continue to put their name in, develop and have these high accolades, but, for me, I got a chance to have a backseat to the best two players in the NBA and really learn from them, and see what they do on a daily basis, how they approach the game. For me, I think this whole experience this past season has really boded well for my career.”
Kuzma has the right approach about his current situation. Instead of trying to take the spotlight for himself, Kuzma is willing to take on a lesser role to learn and develop his game from those who have already mastered the game. He is willing to sacrifice for the pursuit of a Championship.
And while the Lakers have yet to play in a postseason game with Kuzma on the roster, the team is primed for success if their pieces remain intact. Hopefully, Kuz can continue to get better and improve on the 12 points he averaged this season.