After missing the last five games with an ankle sprain, the Los Angeles Lakers have listed him as probable to play against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. Anthony Davis is also probable to play on Sunday despite dealing with ankle soreness, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Davis played through his ankle injury on Thursday, too.
With both Davis and Kuzma is expected to play on Sunday, the Lakers will have their power forward rotation at near full strength, but Kuzma may need to slide down a position to fill the hole left by LeBron James, who is listed as doubtful to play against the Nuggets. Kuzma has played just 3% of his minutes at the small forward position this season, according to Basketball Reference.
Vogel could also experiment with lineups featuring Kuzma at the 4 and Davis at the 5. Davis has played less center since Kuzma’s injury, and that’s no coincidence. While Jared Dudley could have theoretically played the 4 next to Davis and stretched the floor for the Lakers, he lacks the quickness that makes Kuzma a threat around the rim. Kuzma is also a more creative passer than Dudley is, even if Dudley does a better job of taking care of the ball.
As promising as it’s been to see that Kuzma is knocking his 3-point attempts at a higher clip this season (36% on 4.5 attempts per game), the Lakers need him to be more than a stretch 4. His ability to handle the ball for his size is what makes him so valuable, especially on a team with few capable ball-handlers like Los Angeles.
Kuzma will almost certainly be rusty to start, but having him back in the rotation should help the Lakers in some capacity. The same can obviously be said for Davis.
An official update of Kuzma and Davis statuses will be given prior to tip-off on Sunday.