At this point, it’s clear that Los Angeles Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma was the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft. Selected with the 27th overall pick, Kuzma leads the Lakers in scoring at 15.7 points per game while shooting a team-high 36.6 percent from three and snagging 5.7 rebounds per contest.
Flashes of just how good Kuzma could be were seen in Las Vegas Summer League back in July, where he took home the MVP Award for the championship game. He carried that success into the preseason, and now games that count in the standings.
Kuzma’s spotlight and notoriety has seemingly grown with each step. Still, Kuzma feels that a lot of people were expecting the bubble to burst for him, as he explained to Jack Jensen of SLAM:
“I think I get that because a lot of people think it’s kind of like a fluke thing,” says Kuzma as to why others might label him another flash in the NBA pan.
“It’s always been like that. It was like that in Summer League,” he says. “They were like, Oh, Summer League. He killed, but it’s Summer League. Then, same thing when preseason came, and I did the same thing in preseason. Now, I’m in the regular season playing against real [pros], and still the same thing. So for me, I kind of use it as motivation. It is what it is—people are going to say what they want to say, but it’s all white noise to me.”
It’s not surprising that questions lingered about Kuzma. After all, it’s rare for a rookie to come in and make the kind of immediate impact that he has, and even rarer for someone selected so late in the draft.
For the Lakers, who are in the midst of a rebuilding process, finding a gem like Kuzma has been a dream scenario. They found a quality young player that will help their rebuild, and hopefully, help them get back to relevance sooner rather than later.
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