Byron Scott blasts Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma for LA ‘death lineup’ comment
Kyle Kuzma has been one of the best players for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, He’s currently the team’s second leading scorer behind superstar LeBron James.
While consistency hasn’t been one of the Lakers’ strengths this season, they clearly have the potential to be one of the best teams in the league when LeBron is around. They have displayed outstanding offensive and defensive play when they dismantled the defending champion Golden State Warriors last Christmas.
But it hasn’t been a perfect season for the Lakers, who also lost a couple of games by giving away double-digit leads. Also, they haven’t been able to play at full strength this season, as injuries and suspensions have hit some of the team’s key players.
The Lakers have fallen from fourth to the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings in a span of nine games, where they have lost seven.
But it hasn’t shattered the confidence of Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. According to Tania Ganguli of LA Times, the sophomore forward believes the Lakers have a ‘death line-up’ of their own when healthy.
“I think our smallball unit can be really good,” Kuzma said. “I think we can have a death lineup whether that’s [Rajon] Rondo and Lonzo [Ball] on the floor at the same time and me and [Brandon Ingram] and [Le]Bron [James] or substituting guys. I think as we get better defensively and get more continuity, that small ball lineup is going to be huge for us, especially in the playoffs, when everybody’s going to be going small.”
The death line up refers to the Warriors’ style of play, which is small ball, which led them to multiple titles.
Not everybody agreed with Kuzma though, including former Lakers head coach Byron Scott, who had some choice words when asked about the youngster’s statements earlier in ESPN’s The Jump.
“I’m not buying it. I’m trying to figure out what death line up he’s talking about. Because the times that I’ve seen Kuzma at the five spot when they went to their small ball line up. Offensively it’s okay, it’s okay. But defensively you got killed, because he had to guard guys who are much bigger and more physical in the low post. He’s not suited for that right now. So Kyle, stay in your lane. Don’t try to be the coach. Stay in your lane.”
Scott’s comments make a lot of sense, as the Lakers have had struggles when they tried to play small ball. They’ve struggled to against teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Orlando Magic, who have great bigs that can either stretch the floor or be physical inside the shaded lane.
The Lakers haven’t proven that they can play well when fielding in small ball lineups, so it’s hard to side with Kuz on this one.