Kyle Kuzma is confident he will be the Lakers’ third star on a roster that looks much different this season.
Los Angeles made a blockbuster trade sending several young core players (Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart) to the Pelicans for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis. There’s no doubt now that Davis and veteran LeBron James will lead the Lakers, but Kuzma believes he can step in and be the third star that L.A. will need after Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers.
“I don’t feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar,” Kuzma told ESPN. “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 acknowledged he “didn’t shoot the ball well” last season, but still managed to average 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 45.6% from the field and 30.3% from 3-point range.
“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 said.
Kuzma believes his style of play will match well alongside James and Davis.
“I’ve never been a ball-dominant guy,” Kuzma said. “I’ve always played off the ball. It is going to be a little bit easier, going to have a lot of open shots. It is my job to trust my summer workouts and what I’ve done. Just breathe, focus and knock those shots down, because I’m going to be open.”
The Lakers entered last season with high hopes after signing James in free agency but finished 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record. Los Angeles missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year but made significant changes to its roster during free agency.