Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma put the NBA world on notice at the Las Vegas Summer League where he led the team in scoring en route to winning Championship Game MVP. That has carried over into the first two preseason games where Kuzma has averaged 21 points on 62.1 percent shooting.
His work has obviously caught the eyes of the Lakers coaches as Luke Walton will have to find minutes for him. The 27th overall pick has also caught the eye of opposing front offices as he garnered the second most votes for Biggest Draft Steal in the annual NBA GM Survey.
Kuzma received 22 percent of the vote, placing behind ninth overall pick Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks who got 37 percent of the vote. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Portland’s Caleb Swanigan each received seven percent.
Much like Lonzo Ball, Smith Jr. will be handed the keys to Mavericks franchise from day one as the starting point guard. He has excellent athleticism and many feel as if his game is better suited for the NBA than college. Because of that, GMs also voted him third in the Rookie of the Year category that Ball led.
Kuzma projected as a ‘stretch-4’ coming out of Utah, but had been pretty inconsistent shooting the ball. He immediately ended those concerns by shooting nearly 50 percent from three-point range in Las Vegas. So far he has continued to be a floor stretcher in the preseason, knocking down 38.5 percent.
Whether or not Kuzma keeps up this level of play once the regular season starts remains to be seen, but he will undoubtedly be a part of the rotation. Head coach Luke Walton has praised his competitiveness, and his ability to play both forward positions will help him find minutes, even if he does prefer to remain at the power forward spot.