Kyle Kuzma makes it clear that avoiding the Lakers is a viable strategy. In his mind, teams should be able to determine their playoff opponents.
The LA Lakers will be playing their first play-in tournament game in franchise history tomorrow. This happened after they slumped to 7th place in the Conference following injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Despite a 42-30 record and a 58% win percentage that would practically guarantee a playoff berth every other year, Lakers Nation will now be looking ahead to its play in game with the Warriors.
One of the reasons that they ended up in 7th seed is because of some of the final-day results. The Clippers sat their best players against the OKC Thunder in the final game of the season and ended up taking seed #4. Denver got blown out by Portland in a somewhat suspect manner, though they did play Nikola Jokic in the first half.
These are events that have led people to speculate whether these teams tanked their final few games intentionally. The answer to this can only be given by team insiders, but Kyle Kuzma seems to be unconcerned by all this hoopla.
Kyle Kuzma justifies teams tanking to avoid the Lakers
Kuzma is a man of the real world, as he proved with how he handled this question about teams tanking their final games. Unlike Jared Dudley, he believes that it’s perfectly legitimate and logical for higher seeds to want easier matchups in the playoffs.
Kyle Kuzma was recently interviewed by Lakers reporter Jovan Buha ahead of their play in game against the Warriors. The forward out of Flint, Michigan presented a sober response to questions about the Nuggets and Clippers’ antics:
Well, I think you have to take a step back. It’s easy to say a team is ducking another team or hiding from another team. But when you’re trying to win championships and you’re trying to advance, the playoffs is all about strategy.”
“And I think, like I said earlier, a lot of times, seeding matters. And if you, in your first round, you want a team that’s you’re favorable against, you like that match up, of course you want that matchup. So you go to the second round and get your feet wet a bit. So, I don’t look at it as ducking or anything like that. It’s more so a strategy.”
Kyle Kuzma said he considers teams trying to avoid the Lakers in the first round or two a strategic tactic and not “ducking” them: pic.twitter.com/ax4QrrtM6K
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) May 18, 2021