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Lakers news: Kyle Kuzma says Lakers need to do better defensively

Kyle Kuzma

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is still not satisfied with the team’s performance defensively after their 108-99 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their preseason opener. The rookie said the team needs to do a “better job defensively.”

Kuzma, who also impressed during Summer League, was the Lakers’ standout performer against the Timberwolves. The rookie scored a team-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting with five rebounds in 26 minutes off the Lakers bench.

The Lakers actually had a decent defensive display against Minnesota. They held the Timberwolves to just 41 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers in the game. However, they also committed too many fouls and allowed the Timberwolves to get to the line 35 times.

Los Angeles allowed the Timberwolves’ bench to carve them out from the field, as Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng combined for 36 points on an effective 14-of-24 shooting, including 10 trips to the line for Muhammad.

The Lakers have a lot of room for improvement in terms of their defense. They finished dead-last in defensive efficiency last season. The addition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will help, but the team needs a more concerted collective effort to make the significant improvement Kuzma wants on that end of the court.