Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma Cites Ball-Handling, Defense As Ways To Improve Overall...

Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma Cites Ball-Handling, Defense As Ways To Improve Overall Game

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Kyle Kuzma with the Brooklyn Nets’ 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, very few could have anticipated the success he has enjoyed thus far.

With nearly one half of his rookie season in the books, Kuzma has routinely etched his name in Lakers history, setting a plethora of rookie records with his explosive offensive display in the early going.

Among some accolades for Kuzma include being named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November, where he averaged 16.7 points while shooting nearly 38 percent from behind the arc.

More recently, Kuzma became just the third rookie in Lakers history to score at least 25 points in three consecutive games — and was just the first to do so since Jerry West accomplished the feat in 1960.

During an interview with Mike Trudell as part of the Lakers’ ‘Voices’ series, Kuzma elaborated on how he can elevate his game on the court:

“There’s a lot of things. On the court, I need to become a better ball handler. I need to keep learning help-side defense and the different aspects of that, because it’s much different than what I’ve been used to. Being more efficient, I feel like I can do that, even though I’ve been pretty efficient. Just getting to my spots and what not.”

As Kuzma notes, he certainly hasn’t lacked in efficiently. Among NBA rookies with a minimum average of 25 minutes per game, the Utah product ranks second in points (17.7) — trailing Donovan Mitchell (18.2) of the Utah Jazz.

What’s more, Kuzma has sunk 47.9 percent of his total baskets. Using the same criteria, that’s good for third in the league, behind the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum.

Kuzma additionally checks in at second among all rookies with a 38.4 shooting percentage from 3-point territory, only trailing Tatum’s mark of 47.5 in that category among all rookies.