While the Los Angeles Lakers have a number of rotation players whose futures are up in the air this offseason, Kyle Kuzma is under contract for the next few years. Kuzma’s has something of a strange career in L.A., going from a bright spot during the team’s post-Kobe Bryant years to a role player during the current era of Lakers basketball who is asked to do different things on a given night.
Kuzma was rewarded for his efforts with a contract extension that kicks in next season is slated to pay him $13 million a year, but in a recent interview with Bleacher Report, the fourth-year forward explained that he believes he has the ability to be an All-Star.
“I definitely can,” Kuzma said on B/R’s Hanging With Kuz. “I definitely believe that, too. I don’t really care what nobody thinks or says. I know myself, and I know my ability. It’s hard to be consistent in an inconsistent role. I’m excited for a more consistent space next year.
“I’ve done a great job every offseason of trying to build something and add something to my game,” he continued. “I’ve turned myself into a great defender. My rookie year, I was a stop sign on defense. I didn’t really stop anybody. Now, whether it’s elite wings, 4 men, even point guards and shooting guards, I have the ability to guard four positions now and really affect the game on that end of the court.”
The usual disclaimer that no player will say they’re not deserving of being an All-Star goes here. Even if Kuzma never explicitly says this, it very much comes off like he thinks the only thing between him being a nice rotation player and an All-Star is having a clear, defined role 82 games a year, and while it’s fair to be skeptical, he seems confident he’ll get a chance to make that case on the floor next season.