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Stephen A. Smith: 'Kyle Kuzma Has To Step Up!"

(via Lake Show Life)

(via Lake Show Life)

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially clinched a playoff spot for the first time in 8 years. And as all eyes shift towards the title chase, the Lakers are gearing up for what is expected to be a very long and successful run.

Nobody knows how things will end for them this season but it's fair to say they'll need everyone at the top of their game, especially young forward Kyle Kuzma. Before the season, Kuz was expected to be the team's third scoring option. Unfortunately, he has struggled to find his footing this campaign, averaging just 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 43% shooting.

In a segment on ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith urged the young Laker to step up if he wanted his team to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy this July.

"You know who I don't want to let off the hook? Kyle Kuzma. It is time. This is a guy that believes a lot in himself. So much so that you had people walking around saying he thought he should be a number two option even with LeBron and AD there for crying out loud. We all know that's ridiculous.

But the point is if Kyle Kuzma was a Kevin Love, a Chris Bosh, meaning the quintessential third option, we wouldn't be talking about the Lakers with doubt."

When the Lakers make the trade for Anthony Davis last summer, Kuzma was the only one left remaining from their original core of young players -- including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. They picked Kuzma to be their guy.

Months later, two out of the three are, arguably, playing better than Kyle and if the Lakers want any hope of beating the Clippers, Rockets, or Bucks in the postseason, they will need that to change.