In his first pair of games back, Kuzma logged 19 minutes in an overtime win over the Mavs, then 16 minutes against the Spurs, but that number will jump to 26 against the Chicago Bulls, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
“To me, it’s not so much what his limitations are. It’s really about rhythm and timing and conditioning, for me, in terms of what his minutes end up being. But he’s allowed to play 26 now,” Vogel said.
Kuzma was sidelined for the first four games of the regular season with a stress reaction in his left ankle. He suffered the injury in advance of the FIBA World Cup while playing for Team USA, and is now using this time to play catch-up.
“I haven’t really practiced, just kind of been in the games and just trying to learn and get my rhythm from there. But it’s a process, and I’ve kind of been treating this road trip with the first couple games as kind of my preseason,” Kuzma told ESPN.
In his regular-season debut, Kuzma put up nine points and three boards at Dallas on Friday, then five points on Sunday at San Antonio. He told ESPN that he doesn’t mind being viewed as a pivotal piece to help push this team over the hump as he adjusts to his role with the offseason addition of Anthony Davis.
“Yeah, I see myself as a main contributor in some way,” Kuzma said. “I’m going to play a lot in big moments, and just trying to take pressure of everybody and making everybody better with the energy that I kind of bring every night and the attention that I kind of draw.”