What the Kyle Kuzma injury means for the LA Clippers

LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The 24-year old, stretch-big from the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma, could miss the start of the season. What does this mean for the LA Clippers?

The LA Clippers’ cross-hall rivals might be off to a slow start to begin the season. Kyle Kuzma, their fourth-best player, is suffering through an injury dating back to Team USA Training Camp.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ stretch-four could miss the beginning of the season “with a stress reaction in his left foot“, per Tania Ganguli of the LA Times.

Behind LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and arguably Danny Green, Kuzma is the best player on the Lakers’ roster. It is unknown, however, how much his possible absence will affect the team’s record. Kuzma was given the keys to the boat last season when James went down with a groin injury on Christmas Day.

He led the team to a paltry 6-11 record while King James was tending his groin back to full strength. Before James went down, the Lakers were on pace to make the playoffs for the first time in what has felt like eons. Kuzma and company helped to end any hopes of that happening.

In fact, Kuzma couldn’t successfully play his own style of basketball. Of the 30 players to shoot at least six 3-pointers per game last season, Kuzma ranked 30th in three-point makes, at only 1.8 per game. It’s safe to say the only thing Kuzma was sinking was the Lakers’ playoff hopes.

How would a player as inefficient as Kuzma missing time really impact anyone’s record? Well, since the New Orleans Pelicans took everything but the kitchen sink in the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers are now incredibly shallow. Sure, James and Davis might be the best duo in the NBA, and Green might be one of the league’s better role players, but outside of their top three, the Lakers don’t have much to write home about.

The rest of the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster is comprised of:

  • Quinn Cook: Ranked the 489th out of 514 players in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus
  • JaVale McGee: Given a Lifetime Achievement Award and two MVP awards from Shaqtin’ a Fool
  • Dwight Howard: League leader in multiple “bad categories including offensive fouls, three-second violations, technical fouls, goal tends, turnovers by stepping out of bounds, and travels during his time with the Charlotte Hornets in the 2017-18 season.
  • Jared Dudley: Famous for beefing with the best young point guard in the league, Ben Simmons
  • Rajon Rondo: The man with messy breakups with the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans all in the past half-decade
  • Avery Bradley: If you are a fan of the Clippers, you don’t need a reminder of his train wreck of a half-season with the team last year.

Not only do the Lakers have this cast of “winners”, but they also have a handful of fringe-NBA players.

This is why Kuzma’s absence could hurt the Lakers. James, Davis, and Green are good, but without Kuzma’s occasional hot streaks, the Lakers are almost a three-man team.

For the Clippers, the Lakers have been considered one of their biggest hurdles on the way to the 2020 NBA Championship. Kuzma missing time could make the Lakers lose a few more games than they would have otherwise won, dropping their seed come playoff time.

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Anything could happen though, and the Lakers might be able to shake off this injury and chug along just fine. Or, Kuzma might not miss time at all. It remains to be seen. Rivalries aside, we here at Clipperholics wish Kyle Kuzma a speedy recovery.