KEY POINTS

  • Kyle Kuzma is expected to step up in second half of season
  • Kuzma is the third-best option for the Lakers
  • Lakers have invested a lot for Kuzma

The second half of the NBA season is about to start, and so there is no more messing around. The Los Angeles Lakers have given Kyle Kuzma enough slack to rediscover his groove after being plagued by injuries early into the season. But the time is up and now his team expects more consistency from him for the remainder of the year.

The third-year forward dodged the trade bullet on Feb. 6 deadline after being a hot commodity in the market for almost entirely the rest of the league. While it goes without saying that Kuzma is the third-best player in the team behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the 24-year-old still had to endure scrutiny from fans and critics.

Just take it from Ronald Agers of Fansided’s Lake Show Life who said Kuzma “just isn’t ready to compete at the same level as his more experienced teammates,” backing it up by numbers that show the Michigan-born player has ultimately taken a dive in scoring and rebounding.

The Lakers will take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday for their first game following the All-Star break. This will be the acid test for Kuzma to determine whether the organization’s gamble of not shipping him for a better defender or even a more experienced player will pay off.

Kuzma has earned the confidence of the Lakers’ front office that it allowed him to be kept at the core of the team while the rest of the youngsters were sent away to acquire a perennial superstar in Anthony Davis during last summer’s off-season frenzy. He barely escaped the danger during the deadline, but him staying comes with the pressure rather doubled up as to how it was at the start of the year.

Like the rest of the team, Lakers fans are left with no other option but to keep their fingers crossed that Kuzma regains his old form to help the franchise in its campaign in the postseason, and eventually for the championship.

Nick Ziegler, also from Lake Show Life, got words that probably represent the sentiments of the Purple and Gold fandom. “ If he (Kuzma) can find his grove of last year and the year before, the Lakers will be in a great position to win the title. While the first part of the season wasn’t good for Kuzma, there is still time to turn it around,” he said.

Kyle Kuzma Lakers Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2020 in New York City. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)