After a red-hot preseason that doesn’t appear to be much of an aberration, Kyle Kuzma has quickly played himself into the conversation for the starting spot at power forward for the Lakers.
The competition for the starting power forward position is an open one as Larry Nance, Jr. has started each of the last three games despite Julius Randle’s solid play throughout the preseason.
However, despite the uncertainty surrounding the position and Kuzma’s hot hand, it doesn’t appear the rookie is in contention for the starting position on opening night.
Walton said there is a 10 percent chance Kyle Kuzma starts at power forward on opening night. Very much a Nance/Randle battle.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 13, 2017
While fans may disagree, it makes sense to not throw Kuzma to the fire right away. As great as the forward has been, it’s still hard to consider his play so far anything more than a hot stretch until he proves otherwise. In his defense, that simply means continuing to play at this level for a longer stretch, but that stretch still needs to happen.
There’s also an adjustment period that will be coming for Kuzma. The Rookie Wall, as it’s called, will hit him once teams start scouting him more and learning his tendencies.
While Randle and Nance provide different skill sets than Kuzma, both have been successful pros and are the more reliable option as of now.
As is, the Randle-Kuzma pairing with the second unit has been destroying teams, albeit in two preseason games. Nance has held strong enough in the starting lineup that it might be a net positive to allow Kuzma and Randle to run the second unit together and destroy bench units.