Kyle Kuzma has been a revelation for the Los Angeles Lakers even through the short amount of time he has been on the roster. In both Summer League and the preseason games to date, the rookie has shown promise as an elite scorer, especially in his shooting from deep, giving the Lakers a stretch big they have not had in years.
Kuzma’s stellar start to his NBA career has caught the eyes of many people across the league, including rival executives. In a feature on the Lakers’ forward, the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports that front office members and trainers across the NBA have been impressed by Kuzma’s showing, with the strongest reaction coming through this quote:
“We’re kicking ourselves,” a front-office executive told me. “We hoped he’d fall farther to us. He’s a complete player.”
No one expected Kuzma to be this good right away. He was not a good shooter in college and has since exploded into an inferno of buckets. While not fully sustainable, it’s fairly clear at this point that Kuzma projects to be a good shooter (and all-around player) for years to come.
The Lakers have been known to find gems late in drafts even if those selections are immediately considered reaching. The Lakers drafted Larry Nance, Jr. with the 27th overall pick when most believed he would be available in the second round and two years later, they followed the same process with Kuzma.
It’s not immediately clear how much Kuzma can contribute this year with a loaded frontcourt consisting of Nance, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Andrew Bogut, and some minutes from Luol Deng at the preferred power forward position. But with the way the Utah product has been playing, Kuzma is forcing himself more and more into the rotation.