Kyle Kuzma Raises Doubts of Lakers Closing Lineup with LeBron James and Anthony Davis Coming Back

Published 04/21/2021, 3:00 PM EDT
Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Lakers have been far from their best since the last couple of months. The injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis have hurt them a lot, and they are now in the fifth position in the Western Conference.

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Their last game was 14 point loss to the Jazz, who endured late pressure to hold off the Lakers. That game was another reminder of the Lakers struggles late in the game.

During the post game interview, Kyle Kuzma had some worrying comments. He said, “We don’t really know what a closing lineup looks for us this year at all. Obviously it’s gonna be usually AD and Bron and then whoever’s really hot, whoever’s shooting, whoever’s defending, three guards, whatever.”

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Feb 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward Anthony Davis (left) talks to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half against the Miami Heat at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

He also added that the lack of consistent playing time and multiple injuries have further increased the difficulty to determine the best lineup. So despite having a fair idea, they still cannot be sure.

“We kind of know the formula of what we want to get to with a healthy closing lineup. But that remains to be seen so far this year with not a lot of playing time and really cohesiveness and a consistent closing lineup.,” he said.

Who will feature along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the Lakers’ closing lineup?

The two names out of the five that are confirmed for the Lakers are LeBron and AD. That will be the easiest part for coach Frank Vogel. But after that, he has a ton of options. For his backcourt, he has Alex Caruso, Dennis Schroder, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as his options. He can also put LeBron as the point guard.

For his frontcourt, Vogel has LeBron, Davis, LeBron, Kuzma, Andre Drummond, and Montrezl Harrell. Those are some tough set of choices for any coach.

Feb 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel (right) talks to his team during a timeout in the fourth quarter of the Lakers 96-94 loss to the Miami Heat at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The most likely one will be Schroder, KCP, LeBron, AD, and Drummond. Aside from Drummond, the four of them started most games together and have looked like the most reliable lineup for Vogel. They could also potentially add Caruso instead of Drummond, which will give them more quickness and more defense.

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There’s also an outside chance that Harrell gets in for his rim protection, instead of Drummond, who is a considerably weaker defender. Being spoilt for choice might be fun for others, but coach Vogel will be racking his brains to find the best winning combination.

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Aaron Mathew

1525 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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