Kyle Kuzma 1st Lakers rookie since Magic Johnson with 30 points, 10 rebounds
Kyle Kuzma’s Friday night matchup against the Phoenix Suns didn’t start looking like his best day. The Los Angeles Lakers rookie started a woeful 0-for-5 from the field, finding his range in time to explode for a career-high 30 points and collecting 10 rebounds to boot in a 122-113 loss to the Suns.
Kuzma’s line of 30 and 10 are the most by a Lakers rookie since Magic Johnson did it in 1980, according to ClutchPoints’ Ryan Ward.
The Lakers’ second-round selection is looking more and more like the steal of the draft, coming off a previous career-high of 24 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. Kuzma was dialed in last night, hitting 11 of his team-high 23 attempts from the floor, connecting on 2-of-7 three-pointers and netting 6-of-7 shots from the stripe.
Now that Larry Nance Jr.’s hand has started to heal faster than expected, head coach Luke Walton will have a tough decision in his hands, as pulling the rookie while he’s on a roll could prove detrimental to the growth of his young team. At the same time, Nance earned the spot over Kuzma and Julius Randle at the end of training camp, which could cause some dysfunction if not handled properly.
Meanwhile Kuzma is enjoying a much better season than some expected, averaging 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the season.