The Los Angeles Lakers have had unbelievably bad injury luck during the 2018-19 NBA season, and it has outed many of the flaws in this roster and in head coach Luke Walton.
When it’s all said and done, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are the Lakers only players to play in 70 games this season.
Kuzma is also the only top-five Laker to still be fully healthy. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart have all been shut down for the season, while LeBron James is still missing time to avoid making his groin strain and left knee contusion get worse.
Through all of this, Walton maintains that this could be great for Kuzma’s development and in his on-court relationship with James, something that will obviously be vital in the coming years, via Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register:
“With some of the other guys, we haven’t been able to mix them,” Walton said. “So there’s growth that happens with time and experience, and Kuzma’s continuing to get better as a player and continue to work on that type of relationship (with James).”
The good news is that all three of Ball, Ingram, and Hart seemed to be playing their best basketball before getting hurt. What this means is that when next season begins and all four young core pieces are finally healthy at the same time with James, one can see how far this team can actually go.
Kuzma has used the time with Ball, Ingram, and Hart out to develop him passing game, something that lacked severely through his rookie season. He has shown flashes of being a good defender but is yet to find consistency on that end.
The hope is that Kuzma’s time as the last remaining healthy key core piece has allowed to him to figure out exactly what he needs to work on this summer, and then will have four months to do so.