LOS ANGELES -- Long after most of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates had completed practice on Thursday, Kyle Kuzma was still on the court putting in some extra work.
He was involved in drills with Lakers assistant coaches in which Kuzma would run from one side of the court to the other, set his feet and then shoot a jumper.
When asked if it was just for fun, Kuzma smiled and said, "definitely not for fun."
No, this was serious work for Kuzma -- work to get his legs back, work to get his conditioning up to par, work to get his game back after missing four games to start the season while recovering from a stress reaction in his left ankle that he sustained while playing for Team USA in August.
"I don't want to just be out there running for nothing," Kuzma said. "But I think it was big today just to get out there and have game-like shots and game-like actions of me getting tired and having to finish and close off some shots with the coaching staff. We'll probably be doing that for the next couple of weeks just so I can get back in basketball-type of feel."
His numbers from the first three games Kuzma participated in this season on the Lakers' just-completed trip showed the forward just how far he still has to go.
He's averaging 9.7 points per game over 18.7 minutes. But Kuzma is making just 38.7% of his shots and just 12.5% (two-for-16) from three-point range.
"I think all my shots that I really missed were really (just) short, dead-on, short," Kuzma said. "I think last year I shot a lot of left and right and all-over type of shots, but I think most of my shots were short, or rimmed out. That just tells you it's my legs, and really getting it up. So I'm very satisfied with that."
Kuzma began to show signs of life in his game during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night when he scored 11 of his 15 points. He was five-for-eight shooting from the field.
His play was a big reason why the Lakers overcame a 19-point deficit to collect the victory and keep their winning streak going at six in a row.