Lakers’ rookie Kyle Kuzma has looked like the steal of the draft so far. Taken 27th out of the University of Utah, he has shown a far more steady three-point shot than he had in college, he’s shown great athleticism, but to top the list, he has shown a decisiveness and confidence in his play most rookies lack. When he gets the ball, he goes full speed, no hesitation.
Friday night, he dropped 27 points on the Rockets, giving him at least 25 points in three straight games. The last Laker rookie to do that? Jerry West. He turned out to be pretty good.
In those three games, Kuzma is averaging 30 points a game on 64.6 percent shooting overall and 63.6 percent from three.
Kuzma is in the Rookie of the Year race. It’s too early to have a serious discussion about it (at least in my mind), but to handicap it now Ben Simmons of the Sixers is the guy to beat, with Jayson Tatum of the Celtics second. After that would come Kuzma, with Utah’s Donovan Mitchell making a good case he should have the three spot, too. There are a host of others having good years so far who could move into the mix. This award often goes to a rookie who has the better second half of the season, whose game grows and shows potential, we’ll see how these rookies fare as their legs get tired from a longer season than they have ever played.