Los Angeles Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram earned a four-game suspension after being involved in a brawl in their recent game against the Houston Rockets. In his absence, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton decided to use Kyle Kuzma as his starting forward. Kuzma didn’t waste the opportunity to prove himself.
In the four games he played as a starter, Kyle Kuzma helped the Lakers win their first two games in the 2018-19 NBA season, averaging 22.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on 50.0 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. When Rajon Rondo finished serving his suspension, Coach Luke Walton kept Lonzo Ball in his starting lineup.
Unfortunately, things aren’t expected to be the same in the case of Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Now that Ingram is allowed to play again, Walton said that there will be “a little bit” of changes in their lineup, per Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s a little bit of both. We’ve had a little bit of time together, gone through some different lineups,” Walton said. “And then obviously with the suspensions, the lineups that were getting minutes together changed and now we have Rondo back, and we’ll get Brandon back tomorrow. Now it changes again a little bit. So it’s all part of it. That’s why we keep stressing the team being the most important thing no matter what the lineups are. As long as we’re playing for the same purpose and we have the same priorities, we’ll be all right.”
— Info Basket (@InfoInfoBasket) October 29, 2018
As of now, it is highly likely that Coach Luke Walton will replace Kyle Kuzma with Brandon Ingram in their starting lineup. However, despite moving back to the second unit, Kuzma is still expected to play a significant role in their upcoming games. The 23-year-old power forward has been a reliable scoring option for the Lakers in the past few games.
He has also shown his ability to serve as the man in the middle in the small ball lineup. So far, Walton continues to test different lineup experiments, and in their next game, he could try their own version of the Golden State Warriors’ “Death Lineup” featuring LeBron James, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. But, as Walton said, he believes it does not matter who starts in the game as long as their playing for the same purposes and have the same priorities.
On Monday night, the Lakers are set to face the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.