Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole took some time to get going in the Wizards home opener at against the Memphis Grizzlies, but once they found their stride, they started to show a hint of that much anticipated Kuzma/Poole magic that has everyone excited about the season ahead.
However, getting to that magic was a slow burn with Poole finishing the first half with ten points and Kuzma adding seven points of his own. Corey Kispert’s 22 points before halftime ended up being the X-factor that kept the Wizards in the game.
The second half was an entirely different story for Poole and Kuzma. Poole immediately hit a three-pointer on his first possession of the third quarter. Then later in the quarter he facilitated a successful alley-oop to Kyle Kuzma that made it clear their chemistry was starting to come together.
“That was an amazing play,” Kuzma said. “It was tough. It was huge coming out the gate, especially in the third quarter. I think it really gave us a lot of momentum.”
With the new-look Wizards only having two games under their belt, Poole and Kuzma are being realistic about the time it will take for the two of them to start gelling effortlessly.
“It’s a work in progress every game because we’re just trying to figure out you know, where we’re going to be at on the court systematically,” Kuzma said. “Sometimes I’m in a post and running split actions for him. But I think there’s a lot of just untapped things we haven’t done yet. It’s only been two months and really not even two months if I think about it.”
Poole also had a similar perspective: “In preseason and training camp, we were really competitive so we would always be on different teams just to kind of raise the level of competitiveness in the facility. But now we’re playing on the court at the same time, figuring out each other’s cadence, where they want to be, how he wants his shots, playing with Tyus.”
Kind of like the situation starting off hot, we would love for everything to click early right away in the first few games. That’s just not realistic,” Poole continued. “So we’ve got to give it a couple games, five games, then games, fifteen games, right, there’s 82 of them. We’ll continue to work, figure out how to play off each other, and once we get going, and catch our rhythm we’ll be really hard to stop.”
Finding their stride on the court might be a work in progress but their relationship outside of basketball is an important piece to that equation and that is already strong.
“Off the court I love him. He’s a great dude,” Kuzma stated. “We live down the street from each other. We’re always talking and communicating and trying to figure it out.”