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Frank Vogel explains how he plans to integrate Kyle Kuzma back into Lakers lineup

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel doesn’t expect Kyle Kuzma to be himself from day one.

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NBA: OCT 22 Lakers at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers will get back Kyle Kuzma, one of six returning players from last year’s roster. However, Kuzma — who has yet to play this season — will be returning to a team that looks drastically different from the one he played for last year.

Once the starting power forward on a young team, Kuzma will come off the bench and play off of the Lakers’ new superstar duo, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It’s for that reason that head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after practice on Thursday that he expects there to be a learning curve with Kuzma initially (via

“It’s a challenge, but he’s got some familiarity with the guys that were here last year and obviously he’s a sponge, so as we were implementing our system throughout training camp and whatnot he was on the sidelines, paying attention in film sessions, all those types of things. It’ll be a little bit of a learning curve for him, but hopefully it doesn’t take too long.”

As Kuzma works to get his wind and bounce back, Vogel said he’ll be on a minutes restriction:

And despite his excitement, Kuzma conceded that conditioning might be an issue for him:

Vogel also wants to play Kuzma on the ball initially and see how much he’s grown as a playmaker:

”You can only watch so much on tape in a different environment then we’ve created this year, and we’ll have to just evaluate day to day with that stuff. We’re gonna be aggressive and put him positions to make plays and to play-make, and we’ll just evaluate and see where it goes from there.”

Best-case scenario, Kuzma looks great as a playmaker while he gets acclimated to the speed of the game and the cuts he’s used to making. Worst-case, Kuzma takes a few games to look like himself, which is a totally fair expectation for someone that hasn’t played five-on-five since August.

We’ll find out which Kuzma the Lakers get at 6:30 p.m. PST on ESPN.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas

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