Rookie of the year: Kyle Kuzma

Basketball - NBA - 18 Oct 00:00

Best Odds: 21.0 @ William Hill >>> BET NOW

He was selected with the 1st round 27th pick this year by Brooklyn Nets, and then traded on the draft day to Los Angeles Lakers. And oh boy, that should have been the best day of his life, because he responded much better than any scouts were predicting.

Los Angeles Lakers have won the Las Vegas Summer League tournament this summer, while Kyle Kuzma was the leading scorer of their team with 21.9 points (51.4% FG), 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 blocks & 1.1 steals per game (played in 7 of 8 games). Yet, even more productive in his last 3 games (quarterfinals, semifinals & final), averaging 26.7 points per game. He was the 5th most scoring player of all 3 Summer Leagues combined (Orlando, Utah & Las Vegas), and he was the best rookie of all.

Los Angeles Lakers have already played 5 Preseason games, and they still have one to go, but I think I've seen enough. In 5 games he averaged 19.2 points (56.2% FG), 4 rebounds, 1.2 assists & 0.8 steals per game against players, that basically he would face during the regular season.

He currently is the best rookie in the Preseason in points per game, and it's not even close - the next best are Donovan Mitchell (14.8ppg) & Malik Monk (14.3ppg). In addition, out of all qualified players (at least 2 games) he is 5th in points per game, only behind NBA stars like Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Paul George, James Harden & Stephen Curry. That's really impressive company to be around.

The player I compare him with is Andrew Wiggins. Not necessary because of the playing style, but more like because of the position they both play (SF/PF). Andrew Wiggins won the Rookie of the year award just 3 years ago, logging 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists & 1 steal per game. Quite similar numbers Kyle Kuzma has showed in 12 games he played in Summer League & Preseason. Andrew Wiggins actually had worse numbers in his first Preseason - he was averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists & 1.5 steal per game (4 games).

Kyle Kuzma can play both forward positions, that alone should reserve 20+ minutes per game this season. Especially when team is rebuilding & you throw young guys on the floor more often. There also some injury concerns, but I believe other players, like Brandon Ingram or Julius Randle have a bigger chance to get hurt & miss a lot of games this season as well. That may open even more opportunities of Kyle Kuzma. But all in all, I think he should get his 20-25 minutes per game on the regular basis.

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Stake: 10 21.00William Hill
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Posted 1 year ago

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