It might sound strange to say that a team with LeBron James is being underestimated, but according to his teammate Kyle Kuzma, that is the exactly what's happening.
While speaking to ESPN, Kuzma suggested both he and James, "think a lot of people are underestimating us."
The Lakers made a lot of moves this offseason. While the biggest was obviously signing free agent—and one of the top players of all-time—LeBron James, they also signed Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and JaVale McGee. The team looks quite different than it did last year during Kuzma's rookie season.
"We are both definitely excited about the roster and the pieces that we have," Kuzma said. "And we think that a lot of people are underestimating us. It is definitely going to be fun playing with all these new guys."
Sure, it may be fun, but will it get James back to the NBA finals—a place he has been for the last eight straight years? Most people don't think so given that he has moved to the Western Conference where both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets play. This is why most people are predicting an end to that incredibly impressive eight-season streak.
Although, James was obviously well aware of that fact when he signed with the Lakers. The assumption is that both he and the team's President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson, are already looking ahead one year to the 2019-2020 season when the free agent market will be ripe with stars, including Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jimmy Butler to name but a few. Which is why all of those new signings have been one-year contracts.
But again, Kuzma isn't willing to give up on this season yet:
"I don't know why people kind of just rule us out because we are young... We are hungry. We are competitive. Anybody that watched us play last year, we were in a lot of games... 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."