Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma to Start After Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's Foot Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma (0) drives up the court against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is moving Kyle Kuzma into the starting lineup for Monday's game against the Denver Nuggets, according to Spectrum SportsNet's Mike Trudell

The Lakers had already ruled Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out with a foot injury, creating a void in Los Angeles' first unit.

With the 6'8" Kuzma joining the group, size won't be an issue for a lineup that already included LeBron James (6'9"), Anthony Davis (6'10") and JaVale McGee (7'0"). Danny Green will presumably be the only guard on the floor for Los Angeles when the ball tips.

Trudell noted the Lakers "like how Kuz is playing and want to see what that group looks like," referring to the four-forward attack.

Since the NBA's restart last month in Orlando, Florida, Kuzma is averaging 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc. 

His three-point shooting is vastly improved compared to earlier in the year. He had connected on only 29.7 percent of his long-range attempts prior to the NBA suspending the season in March.

Even with Kuzma's improvement, CBSSports.com's Sam Quinn questioned whether Monday's experiment will pan out:

Samuel H. Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

Okay, at least Vogel has four of the right five guys in there. Slide Caruso into the JaVale slot and we're done. But Kyle Kuzma should not, under any circumstances, be a a shooting guard in the playoffs. https://t.co/u6MlC8nRWx

The Lakers have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Their three-game losing streak may not be too worrisome since LeBron James showed during his second run with the Cleveland Cavaliers his teams often save their best basketball for the playoffs.

Now is the time for Vogel to experiment with any new wrinkles to his lineups to see what works and what doesn't ahead of the postseason.