With 22 teams on the Walt Disney World property and completing practices, the NBA restart continues to progress toward beginning. Scrimmages begin this week, with seeding games tipping off Thursday, July 30.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, the time they have to prepare will be crucial in helping them re-establish their on-court chemistry and integrate two newcomers in Dion Waiters and JR Smith. With Avery Bradley choosing not to join the team in Orlando and Rajon Rondo’s thumb surgery, Waiters and Smith will likely see larger roles than they originally anticipated.
The bubble has provided several amenities and activities for the players and staff to enjoy, but Kyle Kuzma recently admitted he has yet to partake in them. “I haven’t done much. I’ve just tried to get rest, done a lot of FaceTime with family, friends, girlfriend,” he said.
“It’s nothing but basketball for me here, so I’m not really interested in doing a lot of the other things.”
In the interest of full transparency, Kuzma later was with JaVale McGee at the hotel pool. But he largely has not been seen exploring the campus.
Kuzma was touted early in his career as a hard worker who lived in the gym, so to hear him say he has not done much else is not in the least bit surprising. Los Angeles is one of the few teams who have a legitimate chance at winning this year’s championship, so it is clear that Kuzma and the rest of the team are taking this opportunity seriously.
The third-year forward figures to be a key piece for the Lakers come playoff time due to his ability to get a basket for himself, but also as a floor spacer next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Days after Kuzma outlined his singular focus, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel singled him out for having dominant performances during practices.
Anthony Davis applauds NBA in efforts to make bubble comfortable environment
One of the concerns about the NBA’s bubble experiment was the mental toll of players and staff being away from their homes, and the league instituted several services and activities to help ease that burden.
“I know the NBA is trying to make this as comfortable and relaxing as possible for us. I think what they’re doing is great, to try and make this feel like home for the next one, two or three months,” Anthony Davis said.
Players are not expected to be in the gym all the time, so having things to do in their free time was an important aspect.
“They’re doing things to help guys stay in their routine off the floor and keep their daily lives as far as going to theme parks on some days, or golfing, boating or fishing and stuff like that,” Davis said. They’re trying to make this as normal as possible for us.”
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