Lakers News: Five reasons starting Kyle Kuzma send the right message

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Lakers Kyle Kuzma
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

He can be the scoring option that Brandon Ingram can’t be

Not only does Kuzma’s starting opportunity come with all of the perks of playing for the Lakers and being part of a special process that seems to be on or near the final phase of rebuilding, but it’s also a chance for him to completely take the league by storm.

0.2 points per game separates him from Brook Lopez in terms of leading the team in scoring, pushing Jordan Clarkson out of second place. Lopez averages 15.9 points per game at the moment, with Kuzma dropping 15.7 and Clarkson not far behind with 15.1.

Before getting into what this has to do with Brandon Ingram, it’s also worth noting that the Lakers are losing their best rebound guy in Nance Jr. while he nurses his injury. Before having to take time away from the floor, Nance Jr. was averaging over seven boards per contest, which led the team.

Instead, now Kuzma has the lead in that category with a 5.7 rebounds per game average. However, that’s not the main focus of this point, so leave that as a side note for now.

Let’s back to the Ingram connection. After the Lakers made some serious moves over the summer, it was a little confusing for them to label Ingram as the cornerstone of the team moving forward when he hadn’t really established himself as a player yet. While there has definitely been improvement, 14 points per game is not the average that the Lakers can afford to have from a guy like Ingram.

So much more has been invested into the 2016 second overall pick that now with a more complete team now that D’Angelo Russell is in Brooklyn, there’s no excuse for Ingram not to step up. Not to mention the fact that if Kuzma can continue to hold a much better stat line than Ingram, having to reconsider how Ingram factors into the team moving forward might not be such a hard decision.

Despite having 20 more points in the most recent Lakers win over the Grizzlies, Ingram hasn’t really convinced everyone yet that he’s one of the faces they’ll need in the long-term. So much hype has been caught up around Kuzma, that now Ingram also has a situation where he’ll have to step up to the plate in order to impress just like Lonzo Ball will have to.