Kyle Kuzma provided quite the spark for the Los Angeles Lakers during a 101-93 win against the Charlotte Hornets, scoring 24 points and providing a massive highlight-reel dunk.
Kuzma continued to grab the headlines after the game with an interesting press conference. A statement on new teammate Andre Drummond, who has struggled recently, stood out in particular.
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“I mean, it’s just a process, man. It’s not going to happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built overnight,” Kuzma told reporters. “I think for him, it’s a big adjustment. When you think about it, he’s kind of never really been coached in his career — in Detroit, in Cleveland and then coming here to a championship organization, it’s tough. It’s tough.”
Kuzma: Difference When You Playing ‘Winning Basketball’
It’s an interesting take on Drummond from Kuzma, considering the big man has been in the league since 2012. It appears to be some major shade for Drummond’s former teams — and coaches — in Cleveland and Detroit. Drummond spent eight years with the Pistons to start his career, playing for Stan Van Gundy and Dwane Casey.
He was dealt to the Cavaliers last season, where not much went as planned, eventually leading to his buyout. Drummond has played in the playoffs just twice, getting bounced in the first round both times.
“It’s a huge difference [between] when you’re playing basketball and winning basketball,” Kuzma said. “He’s handled it well, and it’s an adjustment period, and I think once the two big dogs get back, it’s going to be much, much easier for him because it’s going to be a lot more simplified. And you’ll see some big impact games from him down the road.”
Kuzma learned about playing “winning basketball” last season, adapting to a role off the bench and improving the finer points of his game to earn his time on the court. While his minutes and stats decreased, Kuzma was rewarded with a championship ring.
‘Starter Kuz’ Steps up For Lakers in Win
Kuzma got the start on Tuesday against the Hornets, his 21st of the year. It was one of his best showings of the season and he got his shot back on track, hitting four 3-pointers.
“I’ve been trying to find my touch. I’ve been in a little slump,” Kuzma told reporters after the game. “It was good to see some go in and, hopefully, I can carry it over. It’s a start and I just want to get back to where I was for the majority of the year.”
Kuzma was listed on the injury report with a calf strain and said he’s been having some issues with cramps. His legs didn’t seem to be bothering him against the Hornets when he threw a posterizing dunk over Charolette big man Bismack Biyombo.
Kyle Kuzma with the sledgehammer! 🔨🔨🔨 pic.twitter.com/fWRFGsBPOv
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 14, 2021
The Lakers have managed to stay afloat in the Western Conference despite missing both Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
“We have champions on the roster and we have some hard-playing players who really want it,” Kuzma said. “We’ve done a great job the last few games figuring out how to win and how to play within one another. During this stretch, we’ve been really great defensively without our voice in LeBron and a guy that erases mistakes in AD. That’s given us confidence.”
The Lakers return to Staples Center to take on the Celtics on Thursday and it will be the first time a limited number of fans are welcomed back into the building.
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