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Kyle Kuzma is ‘our third guy’ says Lakers forward Jared Dudley

Kyle Kuzma, Lakers, Jared Dudley

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most talented teams in the NBA right now. Although all the attention is on their two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the team does have a promising young star on the rise in forward, Kyle Kuzma.

Last season, Kuzma was the team’s second option behind LeBron and had to step up his game offensively when the three-time NBA champion went down with a groin injury, which essentially ended the team’s playoff prospects. This year, Kuzma is still trying to find his place on a team now full of battle-tested veterans, but Jared Dudley, who jumped on a Zoom call with the media on Thursday, believes the Utah product is the team’s third option behind the two-headed monster of James and Davis.

“Our third guy is Kyle Kuzma,” Dudley said emphatically. “Now, has Kyle Kuzma been exactly consistent to the point where you have him as the third guy? I think people have to realize it’s him being behind AD, and Bron being able to move to the four sometimes takes his full minutes, but any time AD has missed a game, I guarantee if you look at those numbers he’s averaging over 20.

“For me, in my eyes, I look at this team, Kyle Kuzma is our third guy…For us, I look at it as an opportunity for Kyle Kuzma to solidify being the third guy not only for the media but for this team and what I view him as.”

In 54 games before the suspension of the NBA season, Kuzma averaged 12.5 points per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 29.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Obviously, those aren’t spectacular numbers, especially in comparison to last season when he put up a career-high 18.7 points per contest and shot better from the field (45.6) and from deep (30.3).

Although Kuzma has a lot to work on when it comes to shooting efficiency and on the defensive end of the floor, the soon-to-be 25-year-old has shown a lot of promise and is not one to back down from big moments or playing alongside superstars. He’ll definitely get his opportunity to prove his worth while in the NBA bubble playing in the playoffs for the first time in his career.