After knocking down a career-high seven threes and scoring a career-high 38 points in an upset win over the Rockets, rookie Kyle Kuzma didn’t sound too impressed with his offensive output.
“Why not? I scored 30s in summer league.” Said Kuzma, who was a perfect 9-of-9 for 24 points in the first half. “I’ve got the same mentality every time I step on the court. I try to play my hardest and just be locked in.”
That Kobe mentality got an approval from Kobe, who tweeted a flexing emoji to a post from Lakers reporter Mike Trudell, who asked Kuzma after the game if he expected these type of performances as a rookie. Kuzma simply replied, “Yeah, no problem.”
At 17.4 points a game, Kuzma is currently only .3 points behind Donovan Mitchell on the rookie scoring leaders list but shoots a higher % from the field, three-point line and free throw line than Mitchell. The trio of Kuzma, Mitchell and Ben Simmons also have all six of the 30-point performances by a rookie this season: Mitchell has three, Kuzma two and Simmons has the other.
Kuzma also averaged a rookie-high 17.3 points a game during the NBA preseason and won the Summer League Championship MVP award after scoring 30 in the championship game.