Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has endeared himself to fans during the 2020-21 season by changing the way he approaches the game. Instead of looking to score first, he has become a true team player, focused on rebounding, distributing and then scoring.
This has led to some of the best performances of his career, as he has become exactly the type of player the Lakers needed as they gear up for a championship defense.
Recently, Kuzma’s numbers have slipped slightly, and that could be connected to an injury. Kuzma sat out a game already due to a calf issue but has played through it despite clearly looking hobbled.
Kuzma spoke about the injury issues after a 24-point performance in the Lakers’ win over the Charlotte Hornets.
“I had some pretty rough cramps going back to last game and it kind of carried over. Bit me in the butt today. But I just fought through it, just tried to help the team out as much as I could. Just got through it.”
The Lakers forward said his shooting slump is unrelated to his injury, but rather a lack of touch. “Just trying to find my touch. I’ve been in a little slump. It was good to see some go in. Hopefully, I can carry it over. I still didn’t shoot well enough from three. It’s a start. I’m just trying to get back to where I was before the majority of the year.”
With the Lakers being so shorthanded beyond Kuzma, it’s possible that he doesn’t want to see them play even more battered by injury, hence the decision to continue playing. Hopefully, his injury is not one that can get worse by playing through it, and that Kuzma and the medical staff are making smart decisions.
The Lakers absolutely need as many wins as they can get with LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, but they shouldn’t risk the health of their other players in pursuit of that. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers approach an injury like Kuzma’s as they progress through the final month of the regular season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope gives praise to Kuzma
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope praised the motor and the “do it all” mentality of Kuzma, saying that’s the type of player that the Lakers love to play alongside. “As far as Kuz, his motor has been the same since we started the season.”
“He’s kind of ramping it up, which we need him to do at this point. He’s doing it all, scoring the ball, rebounding and also defending. So love being on the court with those guys when they have that type of mindset.”
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