Player comps are often the easiest way to describe a player’s game in as short a time as possible, but doing so with Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma is difficult because there aren’t a whole lot of previous examples like him in NBA history.
That isn’t to say Kuzma is guaranteed to be an all-time great or anything, but more of a recognition of the realities of the way the game is changing. Kuzma plays like a shooting guard but is power-forward sized, making it difficult to shoehorn his game into another player’s shoes.
According to Kuzma, that lack of ease in finding a comparison is no accident. He told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that he is not trying to be just like one player, he wants to take parts of the greats’ games and combine them to form something new:
“I try to look at everybody. I watch a lot of stuff from Kobe. I look at Kevin Durant a lot. I look at LaMarcus Aldridge’s post-ups. It’s a mixture of players [that I model my game after]. I wouldn’t say I’m similar to one particular person. I have multiple skills and I try to study everybody.”
Kuzma not getting too caught up in emulating any one great player is probably wise, because while player comps are the most pain-free way to describe players, they’re also never entirely accurate. Players are like snowflakes: they’re all unique and look a little different.
Because of that reality, Kuzma would be doing himself a disservice if he tried to be the next Bryant or Durant. Even if he has been getting the chance to pick the brain of the five-time champion.
Instead, he seems to be taking the right path forward and just focusing on trying to be the first, and best, Kyle Kuzma he can be. Maybe he won’t reach the heights of those players, but it would also be foolish to bet against Kuzma with how he’s proved all his doubters wrong at every level so far.
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