One of the biggest surprises for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Las Vegas Summer League was the emergence of rookie Kyle Kuzma, who was the 27th overall pick out of Utah.
Kuzma took home championship game MVP honors, demonstrating tremendous versatility on both ends of the court this summer. Despite the success though, there were some question marks surrounding him heading into training camp in regards to if he would perform the same way against actual NBA players.
But so far Kuzma has lived up to the hype, leading the Lakers in scoring with 19 points in their preseason opener Saturday night. He then followed that up Monday against the Denver Nuggets by once again leading the team in scoring, finishing with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting off the bench.
After the game Lakers head coach Luke Walton commented on the rookie, saying he has been impressed with his competitive spirit, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Walton said Kuzma’s competitive spirit is impressive. That’s driven all his improvement over the last few years.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 3, 2017
Kuzma once again was extremely aggressive on the offensive end of the floor, as he sparked a Lakers comeback attempt that ultimately fell short late in the fourth quarter.
So far in two games Kuzma is averaging 21 points on 62.1 percent shooting and is shooting 38.5 percent from three-point range, which are all outstanding numbers for a rookie seeing his first NBA action.
While it has only been two games, Kuzma is proving that what he showed in the summer was no joke. The more he continues to play the way he has, the more opportunities Walton will continue to give him as he has almost ensured that he will be one of the team’s key rotation players to begin the season.