Coming into this season, off the back of adding LeBron James to their exciting young core of Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers were expecting to be a playoff team. But reality is quite often different to expectations and as it stands the purple and gold have the same amount of wins today, 31, as they did at the same time last year.
The drama-filled season may be on life support, with only a marginal mathematical chance of them playing post-season basketball, but that doesn't mean that these final two and a half weeks of the season are lost for Kuzma.
Trying to turn a negative into a positive, the second-year star has turned his attention to using his remaining minutes of the 2018/19 Lakers season the season to develop his game further and get some reps up before another long summer.
"I'm just trying to use these last 13 or 14 games we have to just try and develop and create good habits," Kuzma said after the Lakers' 124-123 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. "The season's pretty much over so that's the only thing I can really do."
The most visible thing that Kuzma's working on is his passing. Against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, the 23-year-old dropped a career-high 10 assists. He followed that up with the second-best assist mark of his young career, recording eight dimes against the Knicks.
"Everyone knows I'm a good scorer and I can do that so I'm just trying to complete my game," Kuzma said.
The most aesthetically pleasing play of the game today was a Kuzma no-look pass to JaVale McGee, with the big-man finishing it at the rim.
Kuzma dishes the oop in style to McGee!#LakeShow 61#NewYorkForever 60- NBA (@NBA) March 17, 2019
💻📱: https://t.co/cb8TXyNer6 pic.twitter.com/2lbdC0xhdB
"Yeah, I'm always super aggressive looking to score but I need to use these games to develop myself, play with the ball more like I have the past two or three games, understand how defenses are playing and trying to hit my teammates and make other people better," explained Kuzma. "I want to become a good player and have an overall game."
"Everybody's really looking at me to shoot every time, from a defensive standpoint, and so now I'm seeing that my teammates are open. And it's funner to play like that."
Having now lost their last three games, the Lakers head to Milwaukee for the last game of their five-game Eastern Conference road trip where they face the tough task of trying to stop the team with the best record in the NBA.