(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
Kuzma Reacts to First Team All-Rookie Selection
Before the season even began, Kyle Kuzma made his intentions clear at the bottom of a small Polaroid photo.
Below a picture of him flexing on Media Day, the 27th draft pick wrote “All-Rookie Team.”
Eight months later, Kuzma’s goal has officially been made his achievement.
Of the 100 media members who voted on this year’s All-Rookie honors, 93 chose him for the First Team, while the other seven selected him for the Second Team.
“That’s one of my goals that I had at the beginning of the year,” Kuzma said. “… Everybody had a type of goal, and that was my goal. To see it come true and whatnot is pretty rewarding.”
The 22-year-old entered the league with a veteran’s worth of polish on his offensive arsenal.
Armed with everything from his trademark skyhook to a Eurostep and baseline fadeaway, Kuzma averaged 16.1 points — the second-most of any rookie — along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 3-pointers.
The power forward knocked down 159 triples in his first season, ranking fourth among rookies all-time.
Second on that latter list was fellow First Team selection Lauri Markkanen, who hit 145 treys this year.
“This is one of the best draft classes in the past 10, 15 years,” Kuzma said. “Or they say since ’03. It’s just a credit to the level of talent that’s came into this league and taken it by storm.”
“That’s one of my goals that I had at the beginning of the year. … Everybody had a type of goal, and that was my goal. To see it come true and whatnot is pretty rewarding.”— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 22, 2018
.@kylekuzma reacts to being selected to the 2018 @NBA All-Rookie First Team. pic.twitter.com/8UR3IGvHOA
That level of competition limited the opportunity for Lonzo Ball to latch onto the First Team after missing 30 games due to injury.
Ball — who received seven votes for First Team and 73 for Second Team — made the Second Team with plenty of votes to spare.
The 20-year-old averaged 7.2 assists and 1.69 steals, which would have placed him in the NBA’s top 10 for each category if he had played six more games to qualify.
He also scored 10.2 points per game and would rank third among guards in rebounds (6.9), if qualified.