My favorite thing about the Lakers' real rookie sensation: Kyle Kuzma's shoot-pass-or-drive decisiveness when the ball swings his way. Secondary players cannot afford to hesitate, even for a second or two, when they get the ball against a scrambling defense. It strangles possessions. It gives the defense a chance to reset itself.
Kuzma varies his tactics depending on matchups. If he has a bigger, slower guy on him, Kuzma catches and goes without a real pump fake:
He has soft touch with both hands, and a deep bag of wackadoo hooks and runners. Against wings who can match his speed, Kuzma will unleash a mean fake, and whoosh away if they take the bait:
The threat of Kuzma's shot has made him a snug fit next to both Julius Randleand now Brook Lopez in L.A.'s revamped starting five. (Randle Hill is thriving, by the way.)
Some adversity is coming, and it may have started last night in a blowout loss against the Wizards. Kuzma is squishy on defense, and he's shooting only 30 percent from deep. It just feels like he has been more accurate. He'll have to make more for that pump-fake to remain convincing.