Kyle Kuzma is still working his way back from a stress reaction in his foot, but appears well on his way to a return soon, especially based off of his tweets. Once he comes back, the Los Angeles Lakers will have to figure out how to fit a huge part of their rotation back into the mix on the fly.
At practice Thursday afternoon, Frank Vogel was asked about how Kuzma might fit once he’s healthy and he was pretty clear on how big a role the third-year wing will be filling.
“He could also be a starter for us, or he could be a sixth man candidate. Once he gets to playing with these guys, we’ll see what kind of combinations look good together, and we’ll make that decision at that time,” Vogel told reporters.
“Kyle’s the kind of guy who can play with anybody. He’s going to be a major factor for us, a 30-minute per game type guy. Whether that’s starting or off the bench, it doesn’t really matter... He’s a major player for us.”
It’s also worth noting that Vogel said basically this same thing about Rajon Rondo, so maybe he just thinks the Lakers play 300-minute games.
Questions about what Kuzma actually provides beyond the theoretical value Lakers fans assign him aside, the Lakers desperately need his size on the wing. Only LeBron James has the kind of size you need at small forward and he’s much more effective at the four — though he doesn’t play there because... reasons.
Kuzma isn’t even a league-average defender, but he is at least long enough to look like he could help in that regard. Given how talented the NBA’s wings currently are, it’s vital that you have someone who can challenge them on either end of the court. If he fulfills his potential as a scoring threat, floor-spacer and secondary playmaker, even better.
Kuzma working on his spin move with Phil Handy ft. Boogie shooting free throws pic.twitter.com/kbhiJhkzcn— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) October 24, 2019
The sooner he returns, the better, no matter what role the Lakers have in mind for him.