He got his first opportunity to play this season on Friday night and was enthusiastic about simply getting to play again.
Kuzma played 19 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, scoring nine points and grabbing three rebounds. While those numbers are well below his career averages, Kuzma knows that getting back to status quo remains a work in progress.
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 2, 2019
“It just felt really good to be out there,” Kuzma said. “Like I said prior, I haven’t really played in a while, and it just felt amazing to be out there with my teammates and just having fun again. I felt pretty good. Conditioning is still getting there, legs a little bit, short on a couple threes, but that’s to be expected.”
Last season, Kuzma averaged 18.7 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting from the field. Against the Mavericks, he connected on 3-of-8 from the field for a shooting success rate of 37.5 percent.
Kuzma’s stress fracture occurred while he was making a bid to be part of the Team USA squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. One of the early reports had indicated that he was suffering from ankle trouble, and the official diagnosis was not revealed until September.
While the hope that Kuzma would be ready in time for the start of the 2019-20 season didn’t come to pass, his absence didn’t have much of a negative effect on the Lakers, who won three of the four games he missed.