As the Los Angeles Lakers gear up to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, the general focus seems to be more on the Anthony Davis trade talk. But for the time being, the Lakers players will have to lock in and keep the ship heading in the right direction without star LeBron James.
Unfortunately, they’ll again do so without second-year forward Kyle Kuzma, who’s dealing with a hip injury. As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed early in the day, Kuzma’s hip will keep him sidelined for another game while Josh Hart (knee) is slated to be in the lineup.
This isn’t all that surprising for Kuzma, as he missed last game against the Phoenix Suns and didn’t practice on Monday. As Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet detailed, Hart also didn’t practice, but apparently is feeling well enough to suit up after he played just 17 minutes last game.
Let’s take a look at the Lakers projected roster and starting lineup against the Sixers, which should look similar to the one we saw against the Suns.
Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Sixers
|Center||Ivica Zubac||Tyson Chandler||JaVale McGee|
|Power Forward||Michael Beasley||Moritz Wagner|
|Small Forward||Brandon Ingram||Lance Stephenson|
|Shooting Guard||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Josh Hart||Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk|
|Point Guard||Rajon Rondo||Alex Caruso|
In the Lakers’ 116-102 win over the Suns, Michael Beasley stepped into the starting lineup and that will again be the case. He played 26 minutes while scoring eight points with six assists, four rebounds, three blocks and one steal. Assuming Hart is indeed healthy and feels good, he should see a decent number of minutes also.
Lance Stephenson made a big impact off the team’s bench, scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four assists and three rebounds. He provided a major spark for the Lakers’ second unit and will likely see 20-plus minutes again.
Los Angeles was also without center Tyson Chandler last game and Ivica Zubac saw a big bump in playing time, logging 35 minutes. He poured in 24 points with 16 rebounds and four blocks, but with Chandler back it’ll be interesting to monitor how much court time he sees. It’s expected Zubac will still start Tuesday.
Kyle Kuzma Included in Early Anthony Davis Trade Rumors
When the early chatter of Davis requesting a trade out of New Orleans came to light, attention immediately shifted to the Lakers. While the team is searching for a second star to pair with LeBron James, it seems the starting point of a deal would need to include Kuzma, as Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported.
Whether the Lakers would be willing to include Kuzma in any potential deal for Davis is unknown, but it’s a situation to monitor. For the time being, the focus for the young scorer is getting healthy and returning to the floor to help Los Angeles remain in the playoff mix and make a push in the second half of the year.