Lakers Rookie Report Card: Kuzma, Hart, Bryant & Ball

It's been an exciting start to the season for the young new-look Lakers. This team features a roster that is tied for third youngest in the NBA, including four rookies.

It's been an exciting start to the season for the young new-look Lakers. This team features a roster that is tied for third youngest in the NBA, including four rookies. With two of the four already making big impacts, it's time to examine their progress so far.

Kyle Kuzma 

Laker fans should be excited. Not only did General Manager Rob Pelinka and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson bring in Lonzo Ball, they also arguably got the steal of the draft when they selected Kyle Kuzma out of Utah. After playing so well in the Summer League, Kuzma started to gain recognition as it became obvious he was more than just your typical late first round pick. With an athletic 6'9" build and surprising quickness, Kuzma is able to guard several different types of players. Unlike many rookies, Kuzma doesn't have to come off the court in certain matchups because of a defensive liability. His versatility and energy have allowed him to receive over 27 minutes per game so far this season. He has displayed impressive shooting ability and range, which only adds to his versatility and exciting potential. 

Kuzma is already a fan favorite, with many people rooting for him to crack the starting lineup. So far Walton has opted to keep him on the bench, a move that is probably best for now. It's important for this young team to limit their ups and downs as much as possible. Having a strong bench unit led by Kuzma and Jordan Clarkson enables them to do just that. Julius Randle has played off the bench so far as well, but I expect him to replace Larry Nance Jr. in the starting lineup sooner than later. Hardly any team in the NBA will be able to say they have two forwards coming off the bench that are as athletic and exciting to watch as Nance and Kuzma. 

Kuzma's best game so far came against the New Orleans Pelicans and their twin towers, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. In 30 minutes, Kuz dropped 20 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, including 2-6 from beyond the arc. He also contributed 6 rebounds and sprinkled in 2 assists and a steal. Even in the event that the Lakers trade for a superstar, don't expect Kuzma to be going anywhere. He has earned the trust and respect of not only his teammates and coaching staff, but the front office and fan base as well. The sky is the limit for the kid from Flint, Michigan.