Shot Types: What Makes Kyle Kuzma Successful Offensively?

Kyle Kuzma got his first start of the season and scored 37 points against the San Antonio Spurs.

Through the first two games of the season, Kyle Kuzma averaged over 25 minutes per game and 14 shot attempts, with a 21 percent to 25 percent usage rate. These numbers reflect highly of a sixth-man role for the team.

Against the Spurs, he played 45 minutes, still at the 25 percent usage rate. With the additional playing time, he took 25 total shots, and showed signs of life hitting shots within the half court setting, something he has been struggling with from the beginning of the season.

What Did Offensive Success Look Like For Kyle Kuzma Against The Spurs?

Kyle Kuzma derived a lot of success off the particular cut, in this case, off of the Caldwell-Pope screen. He scored on this action 4 times throughout the game.

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Here, Kuzma does a similar cut with the assist from LeBron:

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One big adjustment from last year is the concerted effort to sprint to the corners in transition.

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My observation of his successful shot attempts includes: 7 of his 15 made attempts from transition opportunities, 5 of 15 made attempts from off-ball play types, 2 of 15 from spot up situations, and 1 of 15 were drives to the hoop in the half-court.

Why Is This Important?

When we think of guys to play alongside LeBron James, two themes come to mind: perimeter shooting and teammates that play off-ball. Brandon Ingram’s initial fit has seemed uneasy. He’s most comfortable with the ball in his hands and opts for mid-range jumpers. Kuzma provides a completely different look, and it shows with his shot types.

Kyle Kuzma's shot chart v SAS 10/22

Compare to Brandon Ingram during his first two games:

The insane transition rate of the Lakers team is a huge plus, but in order to get to the playoffs and be successful, the Lakers need to succeed in the half court. While it’s based off just one game, 7 of Kuzma’s 15 made field goals are from what Kuzma does best. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart have similar shot charts as well.

Notice that Kyle Kuzma took more shot attempts against the Spurs than Brandon Ingram through his first two games. This is an indication of his shot creating ability off-the-ball. While Brandon Ingram has shown an increase in scoring with off-ball play types, the frequency of his mid-range shots, usually from isolation play, take away from ball movement and easier scoring opportunities.

Go Forward With Kyle Kuzma?

The Lakers starting lineup will include at least two elite level playmakers, with any combination of Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball, and LeBron James. They’re best surrounded by finishers and shooters that move well off-the-ball and give them space to operate. JaVale McGee, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma have shown that ability early this season.

It’s unfortunate that Brandon Ingram has been suspended for four games. But, this is where the depth if the Lakers talent starts to show. At least for one game early this season, Kyle Kuzma is showing why he may be a better fit in the half court alongside LeBron James and Lonzo Ball.

*Special thanks to @DawkinsMTA for the video work. @HoopInDetail for consult Image from (wallpaper)*

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