Larry Krystkowiak hadn’t played anything more than an occasional pickup game with friends since last season--and that was in France. He hasn’t made an NBA appearance since March 30, 1995, a streak that remained intact Tuesday as he dressed for the first time as a Laker but did not play in the loss at Houston. He has done far more running than dribbling the last several months, about 30 miles a week with his new wife, a marathoner.
“But I shouldn’t take a whole lot of polish,” he said. “It’s not like a high-skilled player trying to come back.”
It’s not like the Lakers need him to be. Krystkowiak, 32, is 6 foot 9 and 240 pounds of effort for practices, not for the lineup to replace Robert Horry or Shaquille O’Neal. He’ll rebound, set screens, battle inside on defense--but he won’t play much in games.
For the first time in a career that began in 1986, a journey that has taken him to six NBA teams now and two countries in Europe, not to mention two stints with Coach Del Harris, he is on a 10-day contract. He had turned down opportunities to play overseas in hopes that another chance would come in the United State, waiting mostly in his native Montana for the call.
That it came from the Lakers, where Harris runs a lot of the same plays as during their four years together in Milwaukee, makes it all the better.
“It was actually something I was hoping for in the back of my mind,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s something that I wanted to happen a lot. My wife wanted it a lot. I’m happy to be back.”