Lakers' Kyle Kuzma Won't Play vs. Suns Because of Heel Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma will be held out of Tuesday's matchup against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center with a right heel injury 

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Kyle Kuzma is out tonight with a right heel contusion.

The arrival of Anthony Davis meant Kuzma had to take a bit of a back seat, but with Davis sidelined with an Achilles injury lately, Kuzma's role has only grown more vital. That led to a resurgence in Kuzma's game after a bit of a slump following Davis' arrival last year.

Having averaged 30-plus minutes per game through his first two years, Kuzma's playing time dipped slightly to 25 minutes per game in 2019-20. As a result, his 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds were career lows. Far more concerning, his three-point percentage didn't improve much, climbing from 30.3 percent to 31.6 percent.

Through 35 games in 2020-21, Kuzma is putting up 11.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. His 36.3 percent clip from beyond the arc is undoubtedly encouraging (up from 31.6 percent in 2019-20).

Frontcourt depth isn't a problem for the reigning champions. The Lakers re-signed Markieff Morris and added Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol to replace Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee.

As much as Kuzma's rebounding and scoring are valued by Los Angeles, he isn't an irreplaceable member of the rotation in the short term.