Kyle Kuzma’s career has gotten off to the type of stunning start that’s enough to make one wonder how he dropped so far in the 2017 NBA Draft in the first place. Most 27th overall picks aren’t this good, and especially not in their first few preseason games.
Kuzma is bucking that trend to make an impact right away in Los Angeles, leading the Lakers in scoring with 19.2 points per game while shooting 56.3 percent from the field overall.
But while this all may seem unexpected, the man who helped prepare Kuzma for the NBA, personal trainer Clint Parks, doesn’t sound like he’s surprised at all via the Lakers Nation Podcast:
“Going back to that combine, everyone got to see just how talented and how good he is. Obviously being on the West Coast, teams, scouts, mock drafts don’t always see Pac-12 teams play but consistently the Pac-12 is producing the best players in the NBA. You’re seeing someone who was considered a sleeper before the draft but he’s easily one of the best rookies. In my opinion he is the best rookie in the NBA.”
Right now it’s hard to argue with that assessment, as Kuzma not only leads his team in scoring but is also currently the only rookie in the top-25 in the entire NBA in scoring.
Kuzma will have to keep up his current role for a lot longer than a few preseason games in order to truly live up to Parks’ high praise, but that doesn’t seem completely impossible at this point.
Kuzma faces a massively uphill battle to actually win Rookie of the Year, but if he keeps up this level of production for the whole season then he’ll not only challenge for big minutes in the team’s rotation, but he may ultimately have a case for best rookie when it’s all said and done.
Check out the full podcast below: