LeBron James and Anthony Davis were quite impressed with Kuzma, who delivered 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field while coming off the bench against the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday night.
His performance helped the Lakers take a 128-120 win on the road.
“Kuz’s been playing out of his mind since he’s been back, and we’re looking for him,” Davis said.
In his last three games, Kuzma has been averaging 21.7 points on 49.0 percent field-goal shooting per game. He’s also been taking 16.3 field-goal attempts per contest.
Compare that to his first 20 games in which he took only 9.4 attempts from the floor per game, which resulted in nightly numbers of 11.1 points on 43.3 percent shooting overall.
The increase in shot attempts means Kuzma is being more aggressive in looking for his shot. More importantly, he has been shooting the ball with greater efficiency, something that James has noticed about the 24-year-old forward lately.
“Kuz is keeping up his streak of scoring the ball and the punch we’ve been wanting all year, obviously,” James said. “He’s been trying to get back his groove. We want him to be that third scorer for us, someone that can consistently get the 18 to 20 points a night. But more importantly, you know it’s just the efficiency right now that I love. He’s just been very efficient mixing it up with his threes, with his paint touches. You saw it tonight on the break, as well, just mixing it up.”
Lakers fans have been waiting for Kuzma to take his rightful place as the team’s third-best player since he played his first game this season, and he has finally started to oblige.
“It’s not about the points,” Kuzma said. “It’s just the way I played. When I’m aggressive, all eyes are on me, and it opens it up for other players. Regardless if I’m playmaking or passing to guys, it just opens it up because people are looking at me.”
With his newfound confidence, Kuzma could help jumpstart the Lakers’ next lengthy winning streak this season.