The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a potentially devastating blow over the weekend with superstar forward Anthony Davis suffering a calf strain. There’s a chance he’ll be out a considerable amount of time, leaving a big hole in the starting lineup.
With Davis on the mend and unlikely to return until after the All-Star break, the Lakers will turn to Kyle Kuzma in the starting lineup. Kuzma will likely have to help shoulder the load during Davis’ absence.
Kyle Kuzma is starting tonight in place of Anthony Davis. Frank Vogel acknowledges that Davis will be re-evaluated when he returns to LA, but also says it’s “unlikely” he plays before the All-Star break.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 16, 2021
Before the 2020-21 NBA season got underway for the defending champions, Kuzma agreed to a lucrative contract extension amid speculation that the team wouldn’t commit to him on a long-term basis.
Although the Lakers agreed to a deal with Kuzma, the 25-year-old has once again had to adjust to a new role in Los Angeles. Kuzma has become a jack of all trades of sorts with an emphasis on rebounding.
Kuzma may be averaging a career-low 11.0 points per game, but he’s made an effort to step up in other areas. He has consistently crashed the glass night in and night out, averaging 6.1 per game in the category, which is a drastic change from 4.5 last season.
The University of Utah product has also improved his shooting efficiency. He is currently shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc and 45.2 percent from the floor.
He’ll likely be asked to shoulder more of the scoring load in Davis’ absence, which he’s more than capable of doing. This stretch could showcase Kuzma as the vastly improved that he is this season.