Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma is quickly becoming the breakout star the organization has been searching for. He scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Monday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons, and as a result made a bit of franchise history.
Kuzma is the first Lakers rookie with consecutive 20-and-10 games since Magic Johnson accomplished as much during the 1979-80 season. Additionally, it was Kuzma’s ninth game this season with a minimum of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Since 1999-2000, only Blake Griffin, Elton Brand, Karl-Anthony Towns, Pau Gasol, Emeka Okafor, Lamar Odom and Yao Ming have had at least that many 20-and-10 performances during their rookie season.
Kuzma previously became the first Lakers rookie to score a minimum of 30 points in a game on a Christmas Day, as he poured in 31 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Moreover, he’s one of just nine rookies to score at least 1,000 points this season.
With that, Kuzma became the first rookie in NBA history to tally a minimum of 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 130 made 3-pointers. The rebounding is of particular note, as it’s an area Lakers head coach Luke Walton has demanded improvement from the 22-year-old, and praised him for making those strides.
It’s becoming evident that Kuzma is growing into a highly accomplished and great player. His ability to score and take over late in the games has helped the Lakers achieve a commendable record this season as opposed to years prior.
Even if their loss to the Pistons eliminated them from playoff contention for a fifth consecutive season.