Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma continues to prove why his team got a steal with pick No. 27 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
In the first regular-season start of his career, the 22-year-old recorded 21 points with 13 rebounds. While he was quick to show he can be a solid replacement for the injured Larry Nance Jr., one aspect of his game has already proven to be elite.
According to NBA.com, there are only five players in the league who have taken at least as many two-pointers per game as Kuzma (7.2) but have been more accurate.
Clint Capela (79.5 percent), Enes Kanter (72.1), Rudy Gobert (71.6), Steven Adams (71.6) and LeBron James (71.1) are the only players with a better two-point field goal percentage than Kuzma (70.8) to start the season
Kuzma is shooting 39-of-50 (78 percent) from less than ten feet – which is the fourth best among all players with at least five close-range shot attempts per game. He trails just James, Capela and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The accuracy will be helpful with an increased role. Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 20.1 points with 7.3 rebounds. In the first game of perhaps many without Nance, Kuzma played a career-high 39 minutes.
Luke Walton has not yet committed to Kuzma in the starting lineup, though performances like the one against Brooklyn will make it hard to put him anywhere else.
If he is indeed in the starting rotation, he will continue to be a fantasy basketball sleeper and an exciting young player to watch this year.