“I don’t feel no pressure,” says Kuzma, who averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.
The third-year forward adds that he thinks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram—both dealt to the Pelicans in the AD blockbuster swap—will “develop into the superstars they were supposed to be” in New Orleans.
“I don’t feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar,” Kuzma told ESPN. “I put in a lot of work in. My progress through my journey shows that I can be there. I developed every single year, dating back to college and I don’t see that development stunting at all.”
Kuzma added, “Last year I didn’t shoot the ball well, and I still averaged almost 20. If I can shoot the ball well and keep developing the facets of my game defensively, I don’t see why I can’t [be that third star].”
Kuzma, who saw his 3-point shooting dip from 36.6% as a rookie to 30.3% last season, believes he fits in seamlessly alongside James and Davis.
“I’ve never been a ball-dominant guy,” Kuzma said. “I’ve always played off the ball. It is going to be a little bit easier, going to have a lot of open shots. It is my job to trust my summer workouts and what I’ve done. Just breathe, focus and knock those shots down, because I’m going to be open.”