Kuzma learned to do the ‘little things’ with LeBron, AD

Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis and LeBron James

Kyle Kuzma wrapped his second NBA season averaging 18.7 points per game. That was up two and a half points from his rookie year, a steady increase that reflected his role as a primary scorer for a Los Angeles Lakers team that finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs.

The Lakers then swung a blockbuster deal for star forward Anthony Davis, uniting him with LeBron James to form one of the most formidable duos in the NBA. Kuzma, who played the same position as Davis, shifted into a bench role and watched his scoring output drop to 12.8 points per game for the 2019-20 season and 12.9 the year after.

While such a demotion may not have been ideal for Kuzma’s stat sheet, the former first-round pick used the opportunity to work on other aspects of his game.

“When LeBron comes and AD comes, we’re all in the same position so obviously you have to take a backseat and rightfully so, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Kuzma told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller.

“For me, I’ve been able to have that scoring role but also do the little things, the intangible things: boxing out, rebounding, playing defense. Just the little things that you need to win championships and win at a high level, I was able to gain that too. I’m looking to put it all together now so it’s great.”

RELATED: Kuzma brings leadership skills to Wizards, learned from LeBron


The Wizards acquired Kuzma from the Lakers this offseason, shipping Russell Westbrook to the West Coast in exchange for a package centered around Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. No longer stuck behind a star of Davis’s stature, Kuzma will once again reprise the role of a primary option on offense — while also contributing in other areas.

Over Washington’s first three games, Kuzma has averaged 13 rebounds per contest. He had only once pulled down more than 13 boards in a game over the previous three seasons. His 33.3 minutes per game are also on pace for a career-high after he averaged 27 with Davis on the Lakers’ roster.

Kuzma’s role in D.C. is still being defined, but he’s already shown he can contribute more than just putting points on the scoreboard. If he can improve on his scoring numbers from his first two seasons, Kuzma has a chance to prove he can be one of the Wizards’ most well-rounded players.