Kyle Kuzma has exceeded almost all expectations for the Los Angeles Lakers so far. The rookie forward has played a big role for the team right off the bat, and currently ranks second on the Lakers in scoring with 15.4 points per game.
The Lakers front office believed in Kuzma enough to draft him, and while how quickly he’s come on is at least somewhat of a surprise even to them, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka never had any doubts that this is the type of player Kuzma eventually would have become via Shams Charania of the Vertical:
“We all felt Kyle gave us the architect of what we want in a player: the toughness, the grit, the versatility being able to play and defend multiple spots, and playing the positionless basketball we do under Coach [Luke] Walton,” Pelinka told The Vertical. “Kyle was the perfect selection for us there.”
Kuzma has displayed all of the skills Pelinka described and more so far this season. He’s shown his toughness and grit while defending larger, stronger power forwards and his versatility by spending tons of minutes at both forwards spots so far this season.
So while it might seem like hyperbole to call a rookie picked at the end of the first round “perfect,” Kuzma might even be better than that considering the range he was selected.
A contributor or role player like Larry Nance Jr. is more or less looked at as the ideal pick for the end of the first round. Getting a player who already looks like one of the best players in the entire 2017 draft class with the 27th overall selection? The Lakers might have done better than perfect, especially considering that Kuzma is still young enough to have plenty of upside and development potential remaining to be mined.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB