NBA

Kyle Kuzma.

Kyle Kuzma ties Lakers legend Jerry West for impressive rookie record

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With much of the attention and hype focused on number two overall pick Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma has emerged as the best rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

As the 27th pick in this year's draft, he is definitely the biggest steal and has surprised everybody with his instant production in the NBA.

In 30 games so far this year, Kuzma is averaging 17.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and is the leading scorer for the Lakers.

The 22-year-old also has impressive shooting numbers for a first-year player as he's posting 50.1 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three-point range.

The young power forward has spent the majority of the campaign coming off the bench but with Brook Lopez recently going down with an injury, head coach Luke Walton decided to insert him into the starting lineup.

The results have been fruitful for Los Angeles and Kuzma has really stepped up his game over the past week and against stellar opposition.

In a tough stretch, the Purple and Gold played the Golden State Warriors twice and the Houston Rockets in between.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

The Utah product dropped 25 points in the first meeting with the Dubs, a career-high 38 against the Rockets and another 27 in the second encounter with the Warriors.

In the process, he became the first Lakers rookie since Jerry West in 1961 to post at least 25 points in three consecutive games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The youngster is already making waves in the league and joining "The Logo" in the team's records books is an impressive feat.

He's caught the eye with some terrific performances this season and can develop into a real star in Los Angeles.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

Following the second clash with the defending champions, Kevin Durant heaped praise on Kuzma and declared that he should've been selected higher in the draft.

“Kuzma should have been a lottery pick,” Durant told ESPN. “Those guys are coming out and playing great basketball. Kuzma is a problem. I like him.”

Coach Walton put his terrific stretch down to his competitiveness and is enjoying the way he's developing for the franchise.

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

"He's shown maturity," Walton said on Spectrum SportsNet. "He's just a great competitor. And I think that's why he's had these great nights. Obviously, more minutes, more opportunities in that starting lineup and he's taken full advantage of that. Give him credit."

Unfortunately, however, his streak of 25+ points came to an end on Saturday night as the Lakers were beaten 95-92 at home by the Portland Trail Blazers.

The men from Tinseltown take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center in their next outing on Christmas Day.

Topics:
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
L.A. Lakers
Kobe Bryant
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Brandon Ingram

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