Anthony Davis will not suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers when they take on the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at Staples Center, head coach Frank Vogel announced at shootaround. This will mark the fourth consecutive game Davis has missed due to the gluteus maximus contusion he suffered against the New York Knicks last week.
Davis was previously listed as questionable, but Vogel made it pretty clear after practice on Tuesday that Davis’ chances of playing against the Magic were slim because he hadn’t sprinted or done any contact work yet. At shootaround on Wednesday, Vogel told reporters that he’s hopeful Davis will progress towards that before the Lakers leave for their week-long road trip, which tips off Saturday in Houston.
AD is out today. Vogel said he hopes to get AD into some live practice things on Friday before they leave for the road trip.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 15, 2020
Let’s hope that’s the case, because while the Lakers can probably manage without Davis against the Magic, they’ll need him for the proceeding two games on their schedule against the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics — two of the NBA’s top-10 teams — on the road. The Lakers have yet to play the Rockets or Celtics this season.
In Davis’ absence, Kuzma will continue to start at the power forward position in between LeBron James and JaVale McGee. In the three games Kuzma has started, he’s averaged 24.3 points and 5.3 rebounds while posting a net rating of +20.4. On the season, Kuzma is averaging 13.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
While Kuzma’s increased minutes have played a role in his improved scoring output, it can also be attributed to the fact that he’s handling the ball more. Vogel has said that he plans to give Kuzma more ball-handling duties the second half of the season, which is something that will be worth monitoring when James and Davis are both healthy.
The Lakers and Magic will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. PST on Spectrum SportsNet.