LeBron James praises Kyle Kuzma, offers unique challenge after game-winner

LeBron James wants to see more of the Kyle Kuzma that stepped up big on Monday night

LBJ knows more than most what it takes to win an NBA Title, and how quickly a so-called contender can unravel at the worst possible time. The Lakers struggles in the NBA bubble have not been taken lightly by The King, and every win from this point forward is critical, even though LA has already clinched the No. 1 seed in the West.

That makes Kyle Kuzma’s game-winning three-pointer over Bol Bol on Monday night all the more important. Even as Kuzma made his jokes postgame, LeBron was stoic as ever, noting that for the Lakers to be their best, they need Kuz to maintain that level of intensity.

LeBron knows the Lakers need Kuzma to step up come playoff time

“In order for us to win a championship, he [Kuzma] has to be our third-best player,” James told reporters. “If I’m struggling or AD is struggling, he has to be our second-best player on any given night. We can’t win a championship if Kuz doesn’t play well.”

No pressure, no pressure at all. While the Lakers shipped many of their young stars to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, they held on to Kuzma, who had all the makings of a sharp-shooter, and solid No. 3 to James and AD. He hasn’t fully blossomed into that role, but at times he’s shown flashes of exactly what Rob Pelinka sees in him.

Kuzma has the green light, even with LeBron on the floor. That’s more than most players can say. But when James, Davis, or both are struggling, will Kuzma be that third option who can find his own shot when the games matter most?

That remains to be seen, but for now, consider LeBron impressed.

Next: At least the Lakers are getting good Kyle Kuzma

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