Kyle Kuzma reveals true reason behind Lakers’ failed title defense
Unfortunately for Kyle Kuzma, he has been one of the biggest scapegoats of what turned out to be an utterly disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the 25-year-old recently tried to shed some light as to what really led to LA’s botched title defense.
In his mind, Kuzma believes that it has a lot to do with the compressed schedule of the season.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James were clearly not a hundred percent throughout LA’s brief playoff run, and according to Kuzma, the same can be said for pretty much the entire team over the course of the season. Kuz is adamant that the shortened offseason did not help the Lakers one bit:
“I think it was a big impact for sure,” Kuzma said about their grueling title run last season taking its toll on the team this year, via Matt Peralta of Lakers Nation. “I think we all kind of felt it during the year. Going through the year having soft-tissue injuries, having little nicks and bruises as you would any season, but a little bit more this season. Not really having an offseason. I think we only had 71 days to get ready for the season, but you got to think after winning a championship, most of us took time off because that was a long haul.”
Kuzma then went on to explain why their extremely shortened offseason ultimately had a negative impact on the Lakers’ title defense this year:
“100 percent it did,” Kuzma responded when asked if it felt like two seasons wrapped in one. “We really didn’t have a bunch of time off. This year really felt like playing two seasons. Playing from last season taking a two or three-month break off from obviously, COVID and the shutdown and getting into the bubble for three months and then resting for a month and a half and getting back into it.
“That’s not your typical NBA season, offseason schedule. It definitely felt long.”
The Lakers had a memorable run in the Disney World bubble last season, which resulted in their 17th franchise title. As it turns out, the physical toll of that run proved to be too taxing for the entire squad. Injuries ultimately led to LA’s downfall this season, and as Kuzma expressed above, it all boiled down to a lack of proper rest for the entire team.