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Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma defends coach Luke Walton

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma came to Luke Walton's defense on Monday, saying that the Los Angeles Lakers stand by their head coach.

Kuzma said the narrative out there that the team quit on Walton was "upsetting." LaVar Ball told ESPN's Jeff Goodman that Walton had lost control of the team and "they don't want to play for him."

"I don't think that's the case," Kuzma said Monday. "When you lose games, at the end of the day Luke isn't the one going out and shooting 2-for-15, turning the ball over, having turnovers or missing free throws. That's us. Can't blame the coaching staff for everything. It's mutual, of course. Players mess up, coaches mess up. We as a team have to be more accountable."

"It's just a lot of white noise, in a sense," added Kuzma, who scored 14 points in a 132-113 win over Atlanta on Sunday to snap a nine-game losing slide. "Luke is my guy. I love playing for him. I'm sure most of us love playing for him too. ... We stand by Luke. I know the front office does."

Kuzma, who is close with Lonzo Ball, said it is increasingly difficult for today's generation of NBA players to avoid all the chatter on social media.

"In our society, social media's so big in our lives," Kuzma explained. "It's all over the place. ESPN puts out anything for clicks now, it kind of seems like. You can't really hide from it, it's just a thing that you have to deal with and just move past it. No other generation of NBA players has to deal with what we have to deal with in our era."

"We just gotta stay locked in as a family and listen to the people that really matter in our lives, basketball lives," Kuzma added. "That's everybody in this organization. A lot of times you have losing streaks, you can go home and listen to people and let them be in your ears, but the people that really matter are the people in the Lakers organization."

Author: Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN

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