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Sportress of Blogitude

Kyle Kuzma: I’m ‘capable’ of giving the Lakers a Big 3

The term “Big 3” became part of the NBA lexicon when Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with the Miami Heat. The Los Angeles Lakers currently have a “Big 2,” as it were, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis topping a retooled roster. Kyle Kuzma recently proclaimed that he has what it takes to give the Lakers a “Big 3” of their own.

The Lakers held on to Kuzma as the organization purged most of the young nucleus previously assembled by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, as Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart were shipped to the New Orleans Pelicans in the blockbuster Davis trade.

Kuzma insists that he is not sweating how the Lakers expect him to take a big step next season, and expressed confidence he will rise to the challenge.

“I don’t feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar,” Kuzma told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I put a lot of work in. My progress through my journey shows that I can be there. I developed every single year, dating back to college, and I don’t see that development stunting at all.”

Kuzma added, “Last year I didn’t shoot the ball well, and I still averaged almost 20 [points per game]. If I can shoot the ball well and keep developing the facets of my game defensively, I don’t see why I can’t [be that third star].”

Kuzma’s shooting from the field remained consistent from his rookie season into his second year (45% to 45.6%). Yet, after hitting 36.6% from downtown as a rookie, Kuzma’s productivity from the three-point line during the 2018-19 campaign suffered, dropping to a 30.3% conversion rate, which is likely what Kuzma was alluding to in his comments.

James and Davis obviously will get a majority of the looks on offense, so Kuzma may see less opportunities that he became accustomed to during his first two NBA seasons. That said, Kuzma notes that he’s not a “ball-dominant guy,” so it’s conceivable he’ll continue to produce.

Whether or not Kuzma can indeed be the final cog in a potential Lakers “Big 3,” however, remains to be seen.