库兹马能重现去年12月的疯狂吗?

发布:STOKES 时间:2018-12-04 21:17 阅读:320 点击收藏

作者:Hannah Kulik
译者:Lincoln
校对:小A&阿牧

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近几个赛季的12月赛程,对湖人都不太友好,去年也不例外:湖人12月的魔鬼赛程曾2次对阵金州勇士、3次对阵休斯顿火箭,还碰上了詹姆斯带领的骑士和另外的季后赛球队开拓者、马刺和森林狼。

湖人在去年12月遭遇了客场6连败,并以9战全败惨淡收尾,这让球爹声称主教练卢克·沃顿已经丧失了对球队的掌控力。

不过,在伤病和失利中仍有一丝闪光点,那就是新秀凯尔·库兹马的大放异彩。他在去年5月的选秀试训时就初露峥嵘,并在7月的夏季联赛中一举成名,夺下了拉斯维加斯夏季联赛的FMVP,且他在季前赛的总得分位列全队第一,为他争取了许多常规赛的上场时间。

库兹马从新赛季伊始就已经崭露头角。在赛季前段,对阵鹈鹕拿下了20分,对阵开拓者拿下了22分,对阵篮网拿下了21分。值得一提的是,对阵篮网的比赛是他生涯的第一次出任首发,并在那场比赛中拿下了21+13的两双数据。

在当月,湖人败走凤凰城的比赛中,库兹马更是拿下了30+10的惊艳数据,这让他被提名为10月/11月的西部最佳新秀。

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在上赛季的20场比赛中,他场均得到了全队最高的16.7分,并有着50.4%的投篮命中率和37.9%的三分命中率。他也成为了NBA首位在菜鸟赛季前20场比赛中,至少获得300分、120篮板、且投进30记三分的新秀。

库兹马是NBA历史上第六位,职业生涯第一个月就创造记录的非乐透新秀。抛开他的前20场比赛,库兹马在12月同样迎来了爆发,这让他立即成为了湖人球迷们津津乐道的话题。

由于他在12月的惊艳表现,库兹马被冠以“Kuzmania(库疯狂)”的昵称。他的出色表现从12月3号对阵火箭的比赛开始,那场比赛他砍下了22+12的数据,有些球迷似乎忘记了库兹马同样是一个出色的篮板手,因为在下一场对阵黄蜂的比赛中他又摘到了14个篮板。

在加时负于勇士的比赛中,库兹马拿下了25+6+3的数据,并在当月第二次与勇士的对决中拿下了27+14的数据。不过,更精彩的还在后面。

12月20日对阵火箭和圣诞节对阵森林狼的比赛,让库兹马一举成名。库兹马面对火箭拿到38+7+4震惊联盟,并且三分球10投7中,刷新了个人生涯记录。

虽然湖人输掉了对阵森林狼的比赛,但库兹马打出了31+4+3的数据。库兹马是继2003年的詹姆斯后第一个能在圣诞大战中砍下30分的新秀。

在2017年的12月,库兹马成为了第二个连续3场比赛砍下25+的新秀。而上一个,已经要追溯到40多年前的杰里·韦斯特了。

1月对阵凯尔特人的比赛则成了他的经典战役。他全场砍下28分,并在第四节命中了5记三分球、独得17分。在扭伤自己的脚踝前,库兹马对阵马刺时砍下了30分,在对阵爵士、与同届新秀米切尔的对决中砍下了26分。

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上赛季结束后,库兹马被选入了最佳新秀一阵,这对一名27顺位的新秀来说是个莫大的荣誉。尽管如此,库兹马仍在休赛期保持刻苦训练,努力提升自身的防守和其他方面,让自己成为一名更全面的球员。

许多人猜测他今年将会迎来大爆发,但目前四分之一赛程已过,许多湖人球迷不禁会问,库兹马到底怎么了?他们觉得库兹马不但没有进步,反倒比之去年还退步了。不过真的是这样吗?

上赛季,库兹马在场均31.2分钟的上场时间里能得到16.1分、6.3篮板、1.8助攻、0.6抢断和0.4封盖,其中投篮命中率为45%,三分命中率为37%,罚球命中率为70.7%。

在本赛季的前23场比赛中,库兹马场均上场30.8分钟,场均获得16.6分(全队第2),投篮命中率为47.3%。库兹马仍在打磨自己的防守技术,而且明显已经比上赛季有所提高。

对比一下,事实上库兹马与上赛季相差无几,或者说还有一定的进步。但在一项关键数据上,库兹马明显出了问题,那就是他的三分命中率。

他夏季联赛时的三分命中率为48%,上赛季的常规赛命中率为37%,更是打破了湖人新秀的三分命中数记录。

但本赛季,库兹马的三分明显失准——仅有30.3%的命中率,这不仅无益于球队,更阻碍了自己进一步的提升。

上赛季湖人曾被许多球队的三分射穿过,所以本赛季开始时,库兹马被委以重任,球队希望他投进更多的三分。可现实并不如所愿。

现在的问题是,库兹马能否重拾去年12月的状态与能量,重现去年疯狂12月的表现。要想做到这一点,他必须在每场比赛、每个时刻都保持“放马过来”的竞争性心态,这是他本赛季许多时候都缺乏的。

目前为止,我们看到的库兹马似乎过于保守,大多数时候都乖乖地站在底线等待队友的传球,就算他们不传球,库兹马似乎也很乐意看到队友们在没有他的情况下赢得比赛,尤其是在第四节的时候。

想想去年的库兹马吧。他在第四节以一己之力打爆凯尔特人;在颓势中力挽狂澜,将比赛拖入加时并战胜马刺。再看看现在,库兹马的心气究竟到哪儿去了?

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本赛季的库兹马总是只在第一节展现出侵略性,然后就开始隐身,尤其是在第四节,他在场上几乎毫无存在感。

他在关键时刻的投篮总是十分犹豫,这显然不像上赛季、专为大场面而生的库兹马。

假如库兹马的三分能回到上赛季的水准,那么球队进攻的第二选择将会是他,而非英格拉姆。

库兹马亟需找回他遗失的曼巴精神。他更多时候像是在迎合詹姆斯,而渐渐丧失了他内心深处的杀手本色。他那股蛮横劲儿,在本赛季已经一去不复返了。

现在的问题是,他能重拾状态吗?12月,也许是他开始的最完美契机。

库兹马是时候停止这种时刻迎合他人的状态,重启沉睡已久的进攻模式了。在经历了10月和11月的磨合期后,12月将对湖人的季后赛排名有着至关重要的影响。

假如球队持续挣扎的话,球队也许会在12月15号采取必要的交易。让我们看看库兹马和他的湖人究竟会在12月发生什么吧。

一切还未盖棺定论。

注:文章在公众号【湖社】首发,欢迎关注湖人国度团队公众号

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原文:

Can Kyle Kuzma Produce Another Magical December For Lakers?

Hannah Kulik

The month of December has not been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers in recent seasons, and 2017 was no exception. They went 3-11 during a brutal stretch that called for games with the Golden State (twice), Houston three times, the LeBron James-led Cavaliers once, and other playoff teams like the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Lakers finished the month with six straight losses en route to a nine-game losing streak that prompted LaVar Ball to claim that head coach Luke Walton had lost the team.

There was, however, a bright spot among a sea of injuries and losses, which was the play of rookie Kyle Kuzma. He started to create a buzz at the Draft Combine in May, opened more eyes in July when he was MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League title game, and earned regular season playing time by leading the team in scoring in the preseason.

Kuzma played well right away. Among his early season efforts was a 20-point game against the New Orleans Pelicans, 22 points against the Trail Blazers, and 21 points against the Nets. The Brooklyn game was his first as a starter, and he had a double-double which included 13 rebounds.

That same month, Kuzma recorded another double-double by scoring 30 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. Kuzma was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November.

In 20 games, he averaged a team-high 16.7 points while shooting 50.4 percent overall and a team-leading 37.9 percent from 3-point range. He was the first ever NBA rookie to have at least 330 points, 120 rebounds and 30 threes in his first 20 games.

Kuzma was only the sixth non-lottery pick in NBA history to win the award in the first month of his career. Despite his early success, it was last December when Kuzma really exploded on the scene and became a part of the nation discussion.

By the time the month ended, the movement known as “Kuzmania” had been born. Kuzma’s stellar play began on Dec. 3 when he scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Rockets. Some tend to forget that Kuzma was a solid rebounder last year, and in the next game he had 14 rebounds against the Charlotte Hornets.

In an overtime loss to the Warriors, Kuzma scored 25 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and had 3 assists. In his second game against Golden State that month, he finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. The best was yet to come.

Kuzma made his reputation in two important, high-profile games. On Dec. 20, the Lakers stunned the Rockets in Houston behind 38 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists from Kuzma. He made a career-high 7 three-point shots on 10 attempts.

Then came the nationally televised game on Christmas Day against the Timberwolves. The Lakers lost, but Kuzma finished with 31 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. It was the first time that a rookie scored more than 30 points in a Christmas game since James did it in 2003.

In December 2017, Kuzma also became the first Lakers’ rookie to score at least 25 points in three straight games since Jerry West did it more than 40 years earlier. Kuzma would go on to have other great games last season.

His 28-point performance in January in a win over the the Boston Celtics was a classic. He scored 17 points and hit five three-point shots in the fourth quarter alone. In the final full game that he was able to play last season before injuring his ankle, Kuzma scored 30 points against the Spurs after scoring 26 points in a match against the Jazz the game before in a duel with fellow rookie Donovan Mitchell who also finished with 26 points.

When the season ended, Kuzma was honored with First Team All-Rookie honors. Not bad for the 27th pick in the Draft. Through it all, Kuzma stayed humble and worked his tail off this past summer to improve on defense and on other aspects of his all-around game.

Many projected that he would have a monster sophomore year. With a quarter of the season finished, some fans are now asking the question, what has happened to Kyle Kuzma? The perception is, not only has he not improved, the level of his play has actually slipped since last year. But is that a fair assessment?

Last season, Kuzma played 31.2 minutes per game and averaged 16.1 points on 45 percent shooting from the floor, 37 percent from deep, 70.7 percent at the free throw line, 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.4 blocks per game.

Through 23 games this season, Kuzma is playing 30.8 minutes per, averaging 16.6 points (second-highest on the team) and shooting 47.3 percent from the field. Kuzma’s defense is still a work in progress but is still much improved this season.

Comparing these statistics, Kuzma is actually doing the same or a little better in most statistical categories with one major exception, and therein lays the problem. Kuzma made his name last year as a three-point shooter.

He shot 48 percent from three-point range in Summer League and 37 percent during the regular season, when he set the Lakers franchise record for most threes made in a rookie campaign.

This season, Kuzma’s marksmanship behind the arc has tailed off. He’s seen a slight improvement of late, now at 30.3 percent, but is hurting the team and stopping him from taking a big step forward.

The Lakers are challenged most nights to keep pace with the three-point shooting of their opponents, and when the season began, Kuzma was counted on heavily to be a team leader in this category. It hasn’t materialized.

The question now is whether Kuzma can channel the energy and confidence from last December and have another break-out month. To do so, he’ll have to “bring it” every moment of every game, which at times has been problematic so far this season.

Far too often he has been docile, standing in the corner waiting for someone to pass him the ball, and if they don’t, Kuzma seems content watching his teammates try to win the game without him, especially in the fourth quarter.

Where is the Kuzma who destroyed the Celtics last season in the fourth quarter? Where is the Kuzma who played until he collapsed on the floor in a late season game against San Antonio in which he single-handedly took the game to overtime and won it while playing 44 minutes?

Kuzma has often been aggressive in the first quarter this season before disappearing the rest of the game. In the fourth quarter, in particular, he has been nearly invisible.

He seems hesitant to shoot in big moments, which was certainly not the player of last year who lived for having the ball in his hands with the game on the line.

If Kuzma can channel his focus to get his three point shooting to where it was last year, it is likely that he, and not Brandon Ingram, will emerge as the Lakers second option going forward this season.

But he needs to get the Mamba mentality back. It looks like he is trying to complement James and defer to him that Kuzma has lost the killer instinct of his own. That swagger that made people so excited about him last year is missing this season.

The question now is can he get it back? December would be the perfect time to start.

It is time for Kuzma to stop deferring to everyone else all the time and turn on the jets. After getting to know each other in October and November, the Lakers’ season will turn in no small measure on their record this next month.

Not to mention the fact that after December 15, the front office can start to think about trades if the team is still struggling. It will be interesting to see where Kuzma and the Lakers are positioned at the end of this next month.

Don’t count Kyle Kuzma out just yet.

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