When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted forward Kyle Kuzma with the 27th pick, not many people knew too much about the Utah product. But that quickly changed as Kuzma was extremely impressive in the Las Vegas Summer League, demonstrating his versatility on both ends of the floor and taking home Championship Game MVP honors.
Even after his outstanding Summer League performance though it wasn’t clear whether Kuzma would be able to replicate that against actual NBA players, so going into the preseason expectations were a bit tempered for the rookie.
Kuzma proved that the Summer League was no joke though during Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves as he 19 points to go along with five rebounds on 9-12 shooting, leading the Lakers in scoring in the 108-99 loss.
After the game, Lakers head coach Luke Walton commented on what he liked out of Kuzma, saying that he was impressed with the way he scraps and competes, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Luke said one of the most impressive things about Kuzma is just 'the way he scraps,' said he got lost a bunch out there but he just competes
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 1, 2017
There are not too many players in the league like Kuzma as he is a power forward but can guard just about any position and can not only get to the rim and score but also can knock down three-point shots at a high rate.
Kuzma already developed great chemistry with fellow rookie Lonzo Ball in Las Vegas this summer and that carried over to training camp scrimmage when the duo led their team to a 3-0 record one night.
If Kuzma continues to play at the level he has since being drafted by the Lakers then Walton will not only have to find a way to get him in the rotation, but he could possibly be in line for an opportunity to start so he can get more minutes alongside Ball. One thing that is for sure though is that Kuzma looks to be the steal of the 2017 draft.