Lakers’ Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma will play for third straight night when they take on Rising Stars challenge
Brandon Ingram will gladly give his minutes Friday night to teammate Kyle Kuzma.
“Kuz can have it all,” Ingram said with a laugh. “He’s going to want to shoot it all anyway, he can have it all.”
Ingram and Kuzma will be the busiest players in the NBA this weekend, playing rare back-to-back-to-back games. The Lakers played Wednesday in New Orleans, Thursday in Minneapolis and on Friday the two of them have the mixed blessing of playing again. They are being honored as two of the league’s “Rising Stars” in the All-Star weekend game that features first- and second-year players split into an American and an international team.
Joel Embiid, who was also selected as an NBA All-Star, will headline the world team, along with Philadelphia 76ers teammate Ben Simmons, considered a rookie because he missed his entire first season because of an injury. The American team will feature, in addition to Ingram and Kuzma, Dallas point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Utah point guard Donovan Mitchell, both of whom will be in the slam dunk contest Saturday.
Lonzo Ball will miss the game as he enters the final stages of recovering from his sprained medial collateral ligament, and was replaced by Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox.
Kuzma enters the Rising Stars showcase having just notched his 16th game of at least 20 points on Wednesday, making him the first Lakers rookie since Magic Johnson to accomplish that feat. Johnson had 32.
Ingram enters the game having made significant strides in his second NBA season. He entered Thursday’s game as the only player younger than 20 in the NBA averaging at least 16 points, five rebounds and three assists a game.
That they’re both such integral parts of the Lakers this season adds to their workload heading into Friday’s game.
Lakers coach Luke Walton wants both players limited in Friday’s game.
“There’s a good chance that Kuz still argues his case to whoever his coach is,” Walton said. “But my recommendation and request is going to be that they don’t play a lot in that game. … I’d say 15 is more appropriate for coming off a back-to-back and traveling across the country. I think they have practice at 9 a.m. the next morning; they need rest recovery.”
The NBA typically schedules games the night before the Rising Stars game, but most of those teams don’t have players in the challenge. The exact scenario awaiting Ingram and Kuzma, though, happened last year for Pacers center Myles Turner. Indiana played back-to-back games heading into the All-Star break, then Turner played 18 minutes the day after it.
This year, Ingram and Kuzma will fly home from Minneapolis with the rest of the team, land in Los Angeles around 2 a.m. and then have to be at practice at Staples Center before 9 a.m.
Last season, Ingram had a much smaller role for the Lakers. In the Rising Stars game, playing with teammate D’Angelo Russell, Ingram played 16 minutes and scored four points. He enjoyed the platform. Fatigue aside, he probably will again.
“It’s fun to get to play against your peers,” Ingram said. “We’ve been playing against those guys for so long, whether it was AAU, high school basketball, college basketball. It’s always fun to play against the next generation, guys that’s gonna be superstars in this league.”
RISING STARS GAME ROSTERS
Pos. | No. | Player, Team | Pos.
F | 7 | Jaylen Brown, Celtics | 6-7
F | 20 | John Collins, Hawks | 6-10
G | 32 | Kris Dunn, Bulls | 6-4
G | 5 | De’Aaron Fox, Kings | 6-4
F | 14 | Brandon Ingram, Lakers | 6-9
F | 0 | Kyle Kuzma, Lakers | 6-9
G | 45 | Donovan Mitchell, Jazz | 6-3
F | 12 | Taurean Prince, Hawks | 6-8
G | 1 | Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks | 6-3
F | 0 | Jayson Tatum, Celtics | 6-8
Pos. | No. | Player, Team | Pos. | Ht.
G | 8 | Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kings | 6-6
G |24 | Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies | 6-6
C | 21 | Joel Embiid, 76ers | 7-0
G | 24 | Buddy Hield, Kings | 6-4
F | 24 | Lauri Markkanen, Bulls | 7-0
G | 27 | Jamal Murray, Nuggets | 6-4
G | 11 | Frank Ntilikina, Knicks | 6-5
F | 11 | Domantas Sabonis, Pacers | 6-10
F | 9 | Dario Saric, 76ers | 6-10
G | 25 | Ben Simmons, 76ers | 6-10
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