Kyle Kuzma, the player who the Lakers would not part with during the Kawhi Leonard trade negotiations, has spent much of the summer bulking up as he will be playing center this year for the first time in his career.
Kuzma hasn’t played the position since high school. “It’s going well, you know, picking it up,” Kuzma said after a recent practice, “I have never really played the five before. And I think it will be good for us, having a small-ball unit, getting out and running and gunning.”
Drafted 27th overall, Kuzma made the All-Rookie team averaging 16.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range. Lebron James said of the new look Kuzma, “He wants to get better, he wants to be the best player he can be.” James went on, “He wants to be one of the best players in our league. He stated that. He worked his tail off this summer and has come in with the right mindset. I respect that.”
Last year, the Lakers had Julius Randle and Brook Lopez playing sharing minutes at center. Luke Walton the lakers head coach, often used an undersized center with the 6-foot-9 Randle manning the position often because of Randle’s ability to switch and defend. Randle is no longer with the team after signing with the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency so the Lakers having to find other options who can play center and be able to switch seamlessly into multiple positions.