The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for answers and Kyle Kuzma thinks one could be sitting on the bench in the form of a 6-foot-11 Spaniard named Marc Gasol.
Kuzma made the case for Gasol to see more time on the court after he following the Lakers sixth loss in seven tries on Sunday against a shorthanded Raptors team.
“I don’t know, man. It’s just very tough. It’s an unfortunate situation. Obvious we’ve got guys that are unhealthy. It’s tough, man; it’s just tough. I’m not sure what to do,” Kuzma said. “I wish we could get a little more time out there with Marc. That would be something that would be good for us, for sure, but it’s tough because we’ve got a lot of different situations and a lot of things going on around us.”
Kyle Kuzma endorsed giving Marc Gasol playing time as one potential tweak the Lakers can do to get out of the funk they’re in.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 3, 2021
Vogel responded to a question about Gasol seeing more minutes prior to Monday’s game agains the Nuggets and kept it simple.
“We’re looking at everything,” he said.
Gasol has played sparingly since the Lakers signed Andre Drummond, not seeing the court at all in some cases when both are active. While the 36-year-old Gasol might not stack up to Drummond in terms of pure athleticsm, his basketball IQ, ability to shoot from deep and passing prowess gives the Lakers a different look.
Marc Gasol Came to Terms Smaller Role
After signing Drummond the idea was floated that Gasol could be looking for a new team, seeing his role shrink severely as he went from a starter to the bench. When he decided to stay, Kuzma was a vocal supporter.
“Champion! Glad you stayed my dude!” Kuzma wrote.
Champion!!! Glad you stayed my dude!!!! @MarcGasol https://t.co/TzUbTBAye2
— kuz (@kylekuzma) April 7, 2021
Gasol initially called the Drummond singing a “tough pill to swallow,” but later came out with a strong statement reinforcing his commitment to the team.
“I’ll stay ready. I’m going to tell you this: I’m fully committed to the team. I’ll stay ready when my number is called,” Gasol said. “I’ll be ready no matter what happens. No matter if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, if it’s whatever position. If it’s some nights, I might not play. But I’ll stay ready, no matter what. I made that commitment.”
Vogel has also been adamant that having all three centers — Gasol, Drummond and Montrezl Harrell — sharp will be key when the games matter most.
“Those guys got to stay ready,” Vogel said. “It’s my job to keep them ready. That’s going to be the plan going forward. And we’re going to need all three of them.”
Vogel Admits Lakers Are ‘Shook’ With Playoffs Nearing
It’s been a strange season for the defending champs, who have been ravaged by injuries for most of the year. But with players starting to get healthy, the Lakers now find themselves in their largest funk of the season.
“The entire team is kind of in a slump right now, a drought. Not more so individually, but just collectively, on both ends of the ball,” Davis told reporters on Sunday. “This is the lowest we’ve been in a while … But the only way is up. We really can’t get any lower than this.”
Vogel admitted that the locker room is a little shook with nine games left, but that he promises his group will keep fighting.
“We’re going to leave no stone unturned in trying to turn this thing around,” he said.
The Lakers are a 4.5-point underdog against the Nuggets on Monday night. They’ll be without both LeBron James (ankle) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols).
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