The devastating injury to Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins has left the team scrambling to find a player to fill that gaping hole.
One Lakers player who’s prepared to accept that challenge is power forward Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma is currently practicing with Team USA in preparation for the FIBA World Cup and responded to a question about the prospect of playing more minutes at center (at the 6:23 mark) for new head coach Frank Vogel.
“I mean, potentially. You just never know,” said Kuzma. “One thing that’s going to prepare me well is this experience with USA Basketball. They really like my versatility and how I can play the 3, 4 and put me at the 5 a little bit. Last year I didn’t really have experience at that but now being with USA Basketball has allowed me to really work on things and if Vogel wants me to do that, that’s what I’ve got to do.”
The 6-foot-9 Kuzma did see time at center last year, though his efforts exposed some defensive shortcomings. The only other current option at the position for the Lakers is Javale McGee, with the team’s biggest offseason acquisition Anthony Davis likely a last-ditch possibility.
The problem with putting Davis at center is that he’s expressed his disdain in playing the position. That could potentially be problematic, since he’s expected to opt out of the final year of his contract next year, making him a free agent on the open market.
Given the current state of affairs, the Lakers may have no other option than to pick up one of the remaining free agent centers available as a reserve. That short list includes players like Joakim Noah and Kenneth Faried.