The Los Angeles Lakers’ starting lineup is mostly set. Barring any injuries, Brook Lopez will be the starting center, Brandon Ingram will be the starting small forward, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball will be the starting backcourt.
That leaves the starting power forward, which is presumably Julius Randle’s spot to lose. However, rookie Kyle Kuzma has a strong case to get that position ahead of his more established teammate. Here are the reasons why.
He’s earned it
Kuzma has looked good whenever he’s stepped onto the floor for a live game wearing a Lakers jersey. It started in Summer League where Kuzma was the Lakers’ second-best player behind Ball. He hit an impressive 3.4 three-pointers per game at a sizzling 48 percent clip in Las Vegas. When he wasn’t knocking down threes, he was running the floor and finishing one of Ball’s many outlet passes for fast-break scores.
The 27th overall pick in this year's draft was incredibly productive on both ends of the floor, as he averaged 21.9 points, with 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. He capped off his strong Summer League campaign with an eye-opening 30-point, 10-rebound game with six three-pointers to lead the Lakers to the Summer League championship against the Portland Trail Blazers. That outstanding performance earned Kuzma the Finals MVP award.