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Kyle Kuzma: 'I'd Rather Be Talked About Bad in LA' Than Irrelevant in Orlando

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma in action during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. The Lakers won 128-123. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has no issue with the negative media coverage that comes along with playing in one of the NBA's biggest markets.

Appearing Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Kuzma discussed what it is like to constantly be in the limelight as a member of the Lakers:

SiriusXM NBA Radio @SiriusXMNBA

.@kylekuzma says the media coverage of the @Lakers doesn't bother him. "I'd rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about, so." Listen to our #NBAAllStar coverage all weekend: https://t.co/KthHqIxQei https://t.co/WminINhCS6

Kuzma expressed his belief that it is better to be talked about negatively than to not be talked about at all: "I want people to talk about me, good or bad, because if they're not, you're not doing something right. I'd rather be talked about bad in L.A. than play in Orlando and not get talked about, so."

The Lakers have been under fire in recent years due to their struggles, as they haven't reached the playoffs since 2012-13. They are under even greater scrutiny than usual this season, however, on the heels of signing LeBron James.

Despite the presence of James, the Lakers are just 28-29, and they trail the Los Angeles Clippers by three games for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Part of the reason for L.A.'s uneven play is the fact that James missed 17 games with a groin injury.

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Aside from LeBron, 23-year-old Kuzma has been the Lakers' best and most consistent player. After being named to the All-Rookie Team last season, Kuzma has gotten even better in 2018-19 with averages of 19.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from three-point range.

Although the Orlando Magic aren't under the microscope as much as the Lakers, which supports Kuzma's point, they are actually in a better position this season than L.A.

Orlando has a worse record at 27-32, but it is just a half-game behind the Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Magic also seemingly have their most promising team in years with youngsters Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac supporting veterans Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross.

The Lakers are far from a lock to reach the playoffs due to the depth of the Western Conference, but with James, Kuzma and Brandon Ingram leading the way, they have a chance to be dangerous if they do manage to qualify.

Regardless of how the season ends for L.A., it is clear that Kuzma is an up-and-coming player with no shortage of All-Star potential. As such, he will be a big part of NBA All-Star Weekend since he is taking part in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Skills Challenge.

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