One of the biggest surprises for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this preseason has been the play of rookie Kyle Kuzma, as he leads the entire NBA in total points scored.
Kuzma was the 27th overall pick by the Lakers out of Utah, and while he was extremely impressive in the Las Vegas Summer League, it was unknown if he would be able to do the same against actual NBA players.
Kuzma has shown that it was no fluke to this point though, scoring at least 15 points in each of the team’s five games, averaging 19.2 points on 56.3 percent shooting.
He had another good game Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz, tying for the team lead in scoring with 18 points to go along with four rebounds knocking down five of his 14 shots.
After the game head coach Luke Walton talked about the rookie’s performance so far, saying that he has earned the right to continue to get more minutes, via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
"Kuzma has forced his way into the idea that we're going to find minutes for him. We're going to find a way to keep him on the court." Luke
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 11, 2017
With Brandon Ingram likely starting at small forward and Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. battling for the starting power forward spot, it is hard to see Kuzma cracking the starting lineup to begin the season, but that does not mean he won’t play critical minutes right away for Walton.
Kuzma is the most versatile player on the Lakers on both ends of the floor, which becomes extremely crucial down the stretch of games when the Lakers like to switch everything on defense, so look for Kuzma to be on the floor to close out games if he continues to perform the way he has so far this preseason.