NBA players will go to great lengths to score triple doubles. Ricky Davis once miserably tried to miss a shot on his own basket just to get that elusive 10th rebound. Triple doubles have surely been on Kyle Kuzma’s mind lately. Aside from his wonderful all-around play lately giving him several chances in his first game, he was traded this offseason for Russell Westbrook, the most notable triple-doubler in NBA history. Getting one would likely be significant enough for the young Washington striker.
He almost did it against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. He scored 19 points and conceded 10 rebounds… but it was not the Magic who hid his 10th assist. No, it would be his teammate Corey Kispert. Kuzma sent the ball to Kispert for what looked like an open 3-point attempt, but Kispert gave the extra pass instead. This deprived Kuzma of a possible 10th assist. Take a look at his reaction after Kispert passes the ball. Needless to say, he’s not happy with his rookie teammate.
The moment was ultimately trivial. Kuzma hasn’t really freaked out at Kispert, and there probably won’t be any lingering bad blood. It’s just one of those little moments that make the doldrums of an NBA season more interesting. Kuzma already has a championship ring. He got his rookie extension from the Lakers. Is it so bad that he would also like to fill out the statistics sheet a bit?
He will have to settle for another solid exit. It’s not like 19-10-9 nights were so common when he was a Laker, but Kuzma has expanded far beyond the supporting role he held in Los Angeles. He is now averaging around 24 points and 11 rebounds in his last 11 games and is positioned as one of the pillars of Washington’s future. A triple-double would have been the icing on the cake, but if he continues to play well, it won’t take long for him to get one. As for Kispert? Well, the rookie should probably expect a bit more hazing in the days ahead for his transgression.