There is a certain exciting aura that radiates around young players in the NBA and for the Los Angeles Lakers, they were home to this for the past couple of seasons.
At one point, all of these players were part of the team’s young core and represented a bright future. However, prior to the 2018-2019 NBA season, LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million deael with the Lakers and suddenly the excitement of waiting for players to develop seemed more like a burden.
James’ age meant his best seasons and end of his career did not match up with the timeline of young core’s development. As a result, the Lakers were aware of this difference and eventually traded their entire young core except for Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
Now, Kuzma is the only remaining member of the promising young core and therefore, he is the only mystery box who will likely contribute for them.
The Lakers also have Talen Horton-Tucker, but it is difficult to imagine the No. 47 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft playing for a team with championship aspirations.
As Kuzma has yet to reach his full potential, he can take a major leap heading into his third season unlike the rest of his new veteran teammates. And at just 24-years-old, Kuzma has already shown flashes of his high-level scoring ability.
However, the Lakers do need a reliable rotation player who can not only score from open opportunities but play solid defense. Kuzma will need to find the balance between showing he can be a key piece in both the short- and long-term.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis have created a buzz around Los Angeles because most All-Star players bring hope and excitement with them. Having proven players correlates with dreams of holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy come June.
Kuzma is not the main reason for the team’s championship aspirations, but he can still be a source of excitement this season alongside James and Davis now.
Kuzma has a great personality on and off the court, which makes it easy to root for him. As he builds his legacy, watching him grow from a contributor on losing teams to an important piece on a championship team will be a beautiful sight.
The hope is Kuzma has one of his signature microwave games or even saves the Lakers on the biggest stage like many key pieces before him in Lakers history.
In the end, Kuzma is the lone survivor from the promising young core. He has the confidence and talent to excel in whatever role and there are high expectations.