Lakers considering Kyle Kuzma for possible sixth man role

first_imgDALLAS — It worked for Manu Ginobili and Jamal Crawford. It works for Lou Williams.Could Kyle Kuzma make his presence felt as a high-scoring sixth man?It’s something the Lakers are looking at as Kuzma ramps his minutes back up. On Friday night for his return from injury, the Lakers were most concerned about getting him adjusted and keeping him under 20 minutes. But long-term, as they figure out rotations, coming off the bench could become Kuzma’s regular role.Coach Frank Vogel didn’t want to lock himself into that idea, however. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs The biggest barrier Kuzma might face is his learning curve on defense.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions “Well the first thing is cohesiveness with his teammates, and obviously executing the scheme that we put in defensively with pick-and-roll coverages, with pindown coverages, the way we wanna switch, how we’re bringing help to the post,” Vogel said. “All those types of things are Basketball 101, you have to use your instincts, but each coach has a slightly different slant to all those elements of your defense. So all those things you have to learn, and with new teammates, that’s something he’s gonna have to learn, too.”DAVIS PUSHING THROUGH SHOULDER SORENESSThe Lakers faced at least a little uncertainty on Tuesday night that the soreness in Anthony Davis’ right shoulder might have kept him sidelined for that game. Friday night had no such drama, with Davis cleared to play long before tip-off, but the Lakers still took steps to keep him feeling good.Davis did not participate in the live session in Thursday’s practice in El Segundo, a precaution to help him recover. He told the media Friday afternoon at shootaround that the pain was lingering, but he wasn’t too worried.“It’s still a little sore, but I’m fine. Obviously it’s going to be like four or five days rest to let it all the way heal, just like any injury. But I want to play, so as long as I keep playing it’s going to always be a little soreness there.”center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“Sometimes it makes sense to have a guy coming off the bench filling that role, and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said. “Sometimes it makes more sense to put him in the starting lineup. I don’t know the answer to that. It depends on each group. I have to see everybody play with each other, but there’s definitely value to that.”The thing Vogel likes, and something the Lakers have struggled with as they stagger All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, is keeping an elite scorer in the game midway through each half.As Kuzma gets gradually worked into the rotation, Vogel won’t change his strategy with Davis and James: Davis generally plays the whole first quarter, and James generally checks in at the start of the second after three to four minutes of rest (with the pattern repeating each half).“Hopefully as Kyle gets comfortable and we get Rajon (Rondo) back, we can see some lineups where both of those guys are being rested together and we can see them playing together, which is a positive too. One of the negatives of staggering (James and Davis) is they have less minutes together.”The Lakers also got some looks with James, Davis and Kuzma in the same lineup, something all of them have suggested could be more frequent as the season goes on.last_img

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