The Los Angeles Lakers “increasingly fear” forward Kyle Kuzma will not be ready for the start of training camp because of a left ankle injury, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
L.A. opens camp on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Kuzma suffered the injury while representing Team USA during a pre-2019 FIBA World Cup exhibition. At that point, he said he was focusing on being ready for the Lakers’ 2019-20 campaign.
Taken 27th overall in 2017, he has become an increasingly important player for the Lakers.
Last year, Kuzma averaged a career-high 18.7 points on 45.6 percent shooting and 5.5 rebounds. That type of production made the 24-year-old the lone untouchable outside of LeBron James in Anthony Davis trade talks earlier this year.
In fact, new Lakers coach Frank Vogel has high expectations for the third-year player this season.
“Kuzma is a 10 out of 10 attitude and worker, and just a guy that’s going to be an ass kicker for us this year,” Vogel said during a recent interview with Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell.
Los Angeles has undergone a roster overhaul this offseason, adding Davis, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Quinn Cook, Avery Bradley and Jared Dudley. Not only do the Lakers have to work on establishing team chemistry as they look to snap a franchise-record six-year playoff drought, but they have to adjust to Vogel’s system as well.
Having Kuzma on the court for training camp and the preseason would help the process, but ultimately, the team needs to make sure he is ready for the regular season. The Lakers’ first regular-season game is Oct. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report