The power forward had a mixed time with the Purple and Gold since being drafted by the franchise in 2017, as he won a championship with them but was also used as a role player in his last two seasons with the team.
Kuzma is fairly active on social media and was recently seen sharing a post on Instagram which implied that the LA Lakers are struggling in his absence. He later deleted the Instagram story, which was a screenshot of a tweet.
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The LA Lakers have had a rocky start to their 2021-22 NBA season, which saw them lose all of their preseason games and their opener against the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors inflicted a 121-114 loss upon them, despite the best efforts of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook, the centerpiece of the Lakers-Wizards deal that saw Kuzma move the other way, had a dismal outing on opening day.
The LA Lakers will need to find a replacement for the role Kyle Kuzma played last season
The LA Lakers used Kyle Kuzma in an offbeat role last season, deploying him as a stretch four who brought energy and rebounding off the bench.
Kuzma was asked to make hustle plays and box out on both ends of the floor, and it is safe to say he thrived in that role.
It certainly brought Kyle Kuzma's offensive production down in terms of scoring numbers and shooting efficiency, but he was quite effective on the floor doing the dirty work for other players.
The closest player who can emulate that kind of role for the Lakers this season is either Trevor Ariza or Kent Bazemore. However, Ariza is a veteran whose movement has been hampered due to his age, while Bazemore has been brought in to play a conventional 3&D role.
Having said that, Frank Vogel is a master tactician who is known to find solutions through unconventional methods, and he will certainly find a way to replace what Kuzma brought to the team during the 2020-21 NBA season.
However, it will have to come soon, otherwise the 17-time NBA champions could find themselves languishing behind in a tough Western Conference.
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