Kyle Kuzma, an opportunist from Flint, Michigan, was late to receive college offers until the latter half of high school. The 27th pick in the 2017 draft out of Utah was later taken out of his mental sanity via the restless, unsatisfied faithful of the purple and gold as a young adult for the Los Angeles Lakers, even during a championship run. Later dealt to the Washington Wizards, Kuzma has been given the clarity and leeway to display the constantly evolving, proficient player he has grown into.
“To come to this situation, it’s like, ‘Kuz, what you think? What you think about just the physical, what are we doing?’ You know, ‘What’s missing?’ Like, those type of things, that’s invaluable to have.” – Kuzma on the Draymond Green show back in August.
Is it time to consider Kyle Kuzma of the Washington Wizards for an All-Star Appearance?
As expected, Kuzma has taken another step toward the stardom that he has shown glimpses of throughout his time in the league when the opportunity arose. The veteran has kicked off his sixth season now, averaging 20.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 45.9 percent from the field.
Kuzma has always been praised for his work on the glass, and one of his many standout performances came on Nov. 10, when he went off for 36 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists on 14-26 shooting with five triples. He even joked during his postgame interview about how, thus far this season, he has voiced the idea to Washington’s staff of running the offense through him.
As his presser began, the reporter immediately asked what went well that evening, and Kuzma had the appropriate response. “Everything,” he said with a chuckling beam. “Nah, I’m just playin’,” Kuzma slipped in being the humbled, class act that he is.
Kuz has had a difficult time missing, recording 18 points or more in his last five contests, contributing 25.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and five assists on 46.7% shooting, alerting the Wizards to who can be the alpha when Bradley Beal is absent or underperforming.
Kuzma has increased his offensive output, helping the Washington Wizards compete.
He is averaging a scorching 29.7 points, and eight rebounds while shooting 50% in his last three games as the Washington Wizard’s second-leading scorer. In November, Kuzma’s averaging 22 points a night. In fact, the forward is the 14th leading scorer in the Eastern Conference in the last 10 games with 22.8.
The Washington Wizards are currently in the playoff picture, tied for the sixth seed in the East with the injured Raptors and 76ers after 20 games. A surprise in a loaded conference, but given Kuzma’s development and leadership, who has proven to be one of the league’s best scorers, and a healthy Kristaps Porzingis, perhaps not.
Kuzma was aware this summer that in order to make himself known as one of the game’s premier names, he had to continue to work on himself on and off the court and control his own path and narrative.
"“The biggest thing is I just want to lead and I want to make others better, make others happier,” said Kuzma entering the season. “I feel like this summer’s been great for my mental. It’s not about putting expectations on yourself, it’s about controlling what you can control.”"
The 27-year-old has manifested spectacular maturity on the floor, in the locker room, and as an icon in general.
"“I definitely need that All-Star, for sure I need that, 100 percent,” he said. “I mean, I already got a ring, so, if I’m an All-Star and a champion, what you gonna tell me? You think I wear crazy sh.. now? Boy.”"
If he maintains his 20-point-per-game average, there is a good chance Kuzma will visit Salt Lake City in February.