Sunday’s preseason opener was highly anticipated because LeBron James made his Los Angeles Lakers debut and though it cast a large shadow, the game was also notable for Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, among others.
Much has been made of the offseason work both Ingram and Kuzma committed to, and the matchup with the Denver Nuggets offered a first opportunity for them to showcase that. Of course, like with any first game, there was rust and sloppiness.
“It looked like a first preseason game,” Ingram said. “I think we tried to play like we’ve been playing in practice. I think it’s a little different playing against somebody else. We tried to just get our feet under us.”
Ingram scored 16 points on 50 percent shooting, adding four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 27 minutes. He had early chemistry with James, which the 14-time All-Star attributed to Ingram’s ability to move without the ball.
Meanwhile, Kuzma led all Lakers reserves with 15 points. His night included playing center in a small-ball lineup, which required him to defend Nikola Jokic. “Just being strong, being able to box out, rebound, finish possessions,” Kuzma said of the challenges in playing center.
It came with some expected struggles and growing pains, though that certainly applied to the team as a whole. “I think it was a good learning experience for us,” Kuzma classified the Lakers’ preseason opener.
“This is the first time really playing with each other. We’ve only been together a really week, playing together. The chemistry is going to eventually form.”