Kyle Kuzma will rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers for their upcoming road trip, which starts on Sunday in Minnesota, and is listed as questionable to play against the Timberwolves, according Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
Kuzma suffered a back contusion against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday and has only missed one game so far. While there’s no guarantee Kuzma will return during this mini road trip, the fact that he’s traveling with the team after being told to stay home on Friday night is a promising sign.
In getting Kuzma back, the Lakers will add a dynamic scorer to an offense that it is in need of a breath of fresh air. On the season, Kuzma is averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
It also gives the Lakers someone they can gibe the ball to in the fourth quarter. According to NBA.com, Kuzma is averaging 3.7 points per game in the fourth quarter this season, which is second on the team only to LeBron James (8.3). Kuzma is also posting a team-high box plus-minus of +0.
Kuzma’s return obviously doesn’t make this a perfect situation, but it’s better than what they have right now.
Beyond what he brings on the court, having Kuzma back means the Lakers have more healthy bodies to put out on the floor, particularly at the power forward position.
With Kuzma sidelined for Friday’s game, head coach Luke Walton started Josh Hart at the 4. Hart is listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 lbs. To say he’s undersized for a power forward would be an understatement.
Kuzma wasn’t the answer to the LeBron-less Lakers’ problems when he was healthy, but there’s no denying that he would make them better upon arrival, especially offensively. Let’s hope we get good news at shootaround on Sunday.