By the time 2019 NBA training camp began, Kuzma had already been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left foot, an injury that occurred during his time with Team USA.
And in the fifth game of the season, Kuzma made his long-awaited debut on when the Lakers took on the Dallas Mavericks. While it’s great for the Lakers as a team, it means a little something extra to Davis.
Davis spoke about Kuzma’s recovery and rehab process and said his work ethic ‘inspires’ him as a person and a player.
“He works his ass off to get back every day before practice, after practice. He’s one of those guys you got to pull off the floor,” Davis said of Kuzma.
“He’s been doing a great job with coach Phil on adding to his game, staying in the weight room, getting stronger, making sure his foot is OK, and it all paid off. The more I see him work, the more he inspires me.”
Kuzma and Davis are two of the youngest players on the Lakers and they’re both players that figure to be a part of the team’s long-term championship plan.
This makes it even better they are building an early rapport of this kind. Having two extremely talented players under 27 years old becoming friends and inspiring each other off the court is a huge thing for the Lakers organization.
On the court, the Lakers are hoping they can find a fit. Kuzma will likely benefit hugely from the gravity that Davis has in the high and low post, meaning he can get whatever perimeter shots he wants, as well as weak side cuts to the basket.
If the two can develop an on-court chemistry that’s similar to their off-court one, then the Lakers will be in good hands as they try to contend for championships now while also keeping options open for the future.
Davis being inspired by Kuzma’s work ethic may seem like a small thing in the moment, but that goes a long way in terms of developing trust amongst teammates.
It’s something that Kuzma will likely remember in the future, and it should be a point of excitement for any Lakers fan.