Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma Believes Injury Luck Doomed 2020-21 Lakers’ Title Defense
Former Lakers champ believes injuries were the reason for the downfall of the 2021 Lakers
The 2019-2020 season was unique and full of barriers for the purple and gold. They dealt with the tragic and sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and the worldwide pandemic of Covid put a hold on the world. Ultimately, they finished it by capturing the franchise's 17th NBA championship tying the Boston Celtics.
Heading into the 2020-2021 season, the team looked prime to repeat, despite losing a few of their 2020 pieces.
The duo of LeBron and A.D. were still intact, and L. A were favorites to repeat. However, after a couple of months into the season, things turned for the worst.
L.A. ended that 2021 season getting bounced in the first round against the Phoenix Suns as the seventh seed in the West, after a pile of injuries came the Lakers' way.
2020 Laker champion Kyle Kuzma, now with the Washington Wizards, believes that the 2021 team would have repeated if they remained healthy.
The 2020-2021 season was only a 72-game regular season compared to 82 games. In those possible 72 games played, Anthony Davis only played in 36 games, and LeBron James only played in 45 games.
The Lakers and James were rolling the entire season until he suffered a high ankle sprain in March that caused him to miss 26 games. L.A. subsequently plummeted down in the standings.
Davis suffered from his own injuries, incurring ailments to his calf and Achilles throughout the regular season. He was healthy enough for the start of the playoffs, but in game four of the first round, Davis suffered a groin injury that virtually kept him out of the next two games. The Lakers were up two games to one in a best-of-seven series and lost three games in a row.
The Lakers had the talent and finished the season as the league's number-one-rated defense. That 2021 squad could be the biggest "What If" in Lakers history.
Injuries are a part of the game, but having your two star players miss significant time was terrible luck for the purple and gold.
Things for L.A haven't been the same ever since -- because the team shipped out Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a first-round pick, and Montrezl Harrell in exchange for the bloated contract of Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2021.