“People are talking about Kuzma’s stats, his most important stat is his minutes played,” Windhorst told The Ringer’s Bill Simmons Podcast.
“Because Vogel doesn’t think he’s a good fit. If you look at the history of LeBron the last 12 years, two kinds of people have played with LeBron as complementary pieces: shooters and defenders.”
Kuzma is looking to find a fit with the new-look Lakers who added key additions like Anthony Davis, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and DeMarcus Cousins.
For those keeping score at home: Kuzma is averaging career lows in points (11.1), minutes (23.1), rebounds (3.4), and field-goal percentage (43 percent).
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Danny Green Supports Kyle Kuzma
While some appear to be stressing, Kuzma’s teammate, Danny Green believes the young forward will be fine. Kuzma’s Lakers teammates have also been encouraging.
“You know obviously he’s been struck with some injuries early on,” Danny Green tells me.
“He’s had the stress reactions with the foot, now his ankle, we make sure that he stays on top of his body, but not pressing too much. Not thinking about playing for the team because we all know what he is capable of doing, we all know that he can score. For him, it’s about slowing the game down and he’s a great athlete, great player, and he’s a great talent – has lots of potential. He’s gotta be patient, slow the game down for himself, so that way he can be great for us.” Green said.
LeBron James Battling His Own Injury
LeBron James is battling his own injuries heading into Christmas, but none appear to be overly-concerning currently.
James’ recent injury occurred in the team’s loss to the Indiana Pacers in late-December. The Lakers star was dealing with an injury to his rib cage area. Despite the injury, James played through in during a recent loss against the Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
James, 34 is currently averaging 25.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 10.6 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.
Kuzma is one of six players returning from last season’s Lakers team. He believes that overcoming absences from James will be much more doable than last season when the 34-year-old missed significant time after tearing his groin last Christmas.
“Last year we were a younger team,” Kuzma said on Saturday, per the team’s official Twitter.
“A lot of times in fourth quarters we would fold a little bit, but we’ve got a veteran team and we’ve still got AD on this team. Those guys have been there, done that and been through plenty of wars to skirmish the injury of LeBron.”
Kuzma is not the playmaker that James is. Despite LBJ’s absence, Kuzma challenges his teammates to share the basketball, as SB Nation’s Christian Rivas detailed.
“Just with ball movement,” he said. “Moving the ball, sharing it — everybody. LeBron does a great job of having the ball in his hands and making reads, and what not, but with him not out there, we have to have more ball movement, more player movement and try to get it that way.”