Kyle Kuzma says the Lakers can contend this season

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

When the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James this summer, their entire team-building strategy changed.

After drafting multiple high first-rounders to form a talented young core over the course of the last few years, Magic Johnson and the front office decided to make a splash and most likely intend on signing another max-contract player next summer as well.

LeBron’s presence also led to the signing of other notable veteran free agents like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee.

Therefore, the upcoming season will be an interesting one in LA.

Who will coach Luke Walton name as his starters? What will happen to the development of the young core? Will the team look to contend for a title or simply be content with solid growth?

There are many more questions than answers at this point.

Kyle Kuzma, one of the team’s standout rookies last year, doesn’t want anyone to sleep on the Lakers. In fact, he thinks the current roster is talented enough to make noise.

Not backing down

"We are both definitely excited about the roster and the pieces that we have," Kuzma told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk on Tuesday. "And we think that a lot of people are underestimating us. It is definitely going to be fun playing with all these new guys.”

"A lot of people say we got a lot of different people, a lot of new people," added Kuzma. "But change can be a good thing. It is not necessarily always a bad thing. There's a lot of teams in the NBA that need to work on their chemistry; we are just one of them.”

Overall, Kuzma also doesn’t appreciate the thought that LA has to wait until the 2019-2020 season to put together a contending roster.

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers

"I don't know why people kind of just rule us out because we are young," said Kuzma, who put up 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season. "We are hungry. We are competitive. Anybody that watched us play last year, we were in a lot of games."

He added, ”Having one of the greatest players of all time is going to raise what we do, raise our level of focus and the team to a higher level. I don't really see why [there is a need to be] so patient."

Therefore, look for the Lakers to adopt LeBron’s title-or-bust mentality, even the youngsters. Judging by Kuzma's comments, he already has.

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