When the Lakers drafted Kyle Kuzma with the 27th pick overall, not a whole lot of people knew who he was. Kuzma attended the University of Utah where he really wasn’t known for his 3-pt shooting ability. The Lakers scouting department saw something in him, and in the NBA Draft Combine he impressed them. Fast forward to today, and Kyle Kuzma has been the best player on the Lakers roster by far. We have yet to see Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram play to their capabilities due to injuries. Kuzma opened up some eyes in summer league where he had a great connection with Lonzo Ball. During summer league, Kuzma showed his ability to make shots from 3-pt range. During the first 3 preseason games, he’s showed that he’s not only a deep threat, but a threat from anywhere on the floor. Kuzma can create his own shot if he had to, as well as take it to the basket. His footwork has been spectacular and he’s playing as if he’s been in the league for a couple of years.
Coach Walton had praise for the rookie saying,
“Kyle Kuzma is one of the more confident rookies he’s seen throughout his career”
Kuzma has already become a fan favorite amongst Lakers fans. When he checks into a game, fans start chanting, “Kuuuuuuuuuuuz.” Nobody really knew what kind of talent he had, but he’s making the most of his opportunities and it’s being recognized. Yes, it’s too early in the season to start proclaiming Kuzma as a future superstar, but there’s already buzz around the league that he could possibly be in the running for rookie of the year. Higher draft picks have been getting the most attention for that award such as teammate Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz and even Dennis Smith Jr. But so far Kuzma has let his play do the talking. In preseason, Kuzma leads the team in scoring with 21 points per game, along with 1.3 steals per game, and is shooting 47% from 3-pt range. There is no question that Kuzma can possibly be the Lakers next star with all that he’s showing us on the floor, but it’s still a long way to go. Rookies will struggle during the season which is common. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing we might see something special blossom in the near future.