Kyle Kuzma Scouting Report of 6/26

 
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Mike@LG
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject: Kyle Kuzma Scouting Report of 6/26

I wrote this awhile back and figure, it should be posted. I have another for Josh Hart too, but I wanted to see if what I saw/wrote in the scouting report translated straight to the Vegas Pro League play as well.
Quote:


Kyle Kuzma

Age: 7/24/95, age 21 as of 6/26
Size: Compares in height and length to: Aaron Gordon out of the 2014 NBA draft. Gordon was listed by Draftexpress in their 2014 PreDraft Measurements page at 6’8-1/2” w/o shoes, 6’11-3/4” wingspan, 220 lbs. with an 8’9” standing reach.

Kyle Kuzma, is 6’8” w/o shoes, 7’-1/4” wingspan, 8’11-1/2” standing reach at 223lbs from the NBA Pre-Draft workout.

The critical difference isn’t in the height, or the wingspan, but rather, the additional 2-1/2 inches of standing reach. Kyle Kuzma is right there with the high standard 9’ standing reach of most typical NBA power forwards.

General athleticism:

In terms of athleticism, Kyle Kuzma is a fluid athlete. He’s very comfortable running in the open floor, and leans towards a smooth athlete with good stride length. More simply put, he resembles small-forward athleticism at the power forward position. He shows good open court speed, a decent first step, and has shown the ability to move decently laterally. He shows bounce in space, especially with at least two steps to gather up and build verticality. This is especially evident with off-ball finishes and in transition. As his body matures, he can be more of a one-foot leaper.

There is some ability to be solid as a pick-and-roll switch defender as well, but that is a matter of discipline and technique, than athletic ability.
One of his more underrated abilities is how he explodes up for rebound with full extension. He does a good job from holding position, to using both hands to grab the basketball at peak flight. Other scouting reports say little of his rebounding ability…

While he has a good height, wingspan, standing reach, and strength as an NBA draft prospect, it’s reasonable to say he’s a bit light to cover NBA power forwards. He has grown into his body since he started out at Utah, but an additional 10-15lbs. built up over time will make it easier for him to establish position for rebounding and deny position with opponents that choose to post up. He may be thought of as a finesse power forward in terms of skill, but is not easy to push around once he chooses to be active in the painted area.


Offensive skill set:


Painted area:
Kuzma excels most with his face up game. He has shown the occasional jump hooks and touch finishes around the hoop, but he wasn’t drafted for his post-up game. He shows good footwork when attacking the basket, not just gathering up for a strong finish in space, but also implementing a Eurostep or a crossover at speed when attacking the rim. Unlike most power forwards and centers, he has unusually great touch on his floater out to 12’. This is a rarer quality of power forwards in the league. According to Hoop-Math, 49% of his total shots were at the rim, where he converted at a tremendous 67.2% clip. Of those shots at the rim, 38.2% of them were assisted, which gives an indication of his off-ball effectiveness.

Mid-range to Long 2
: This is one particular area of opportunity. Where he is solid with his triple threat skills, he could be a handful when it comes to operating from the high post, especially out of horns sets. Kuzma is easily right-hand dominant and while opt to drive right at will. That works at the NCAA level, but the NBA level requires a left-hand drive, even if it’s just two dribbles from 15’ away. He shows good touch in the midrange area, especially with his floater game. There is a reason for concern that some of his shots from his drives from the midrange area may not fly, only because he seems to lunge at the hoop with reach and get away with made baskets on touch. Developing a reverse pivot at the end of a drive to get him a shot at the hoop, or possible a dunk (Amare Stoudemire’s pet move) would go a long way. Like Randle, he needs to work with his off-hand in terms of ball-handling attacks and finishes. Fortunately, he has a quick release and a high release point to shoot over defenders when spaced.

Only 27.7% of his total shots come from outside the rim to the 3-point line. From this area, he converted at 36%, which is just enough to be a threat, but clearly there’s room for improvement.

3-point range
: This is one of the primary skills that he was drafted for. While he finished at a 32.1% clip for the season, it’s important to note how that percentage came about. Through November and December, he shot a combined 5 of 27 behind the arc, but finished January through March shooting 22 of 57 behind the arc, 38.5%. He finished the month of March shooting 42.9% behind the arc with just under 4 attempts per game.
In terms of mechanics, like Robert Horry, he has to set up his kick stand to get his shot off. He is more comfortable with a 1-2 step than a standstill 3-point shot. However, with either technique, he has shown comfort right at the NBA 3-point line. This range has also shown in pick and pop situations. There’s an opportunity to put more legs into his shot, but his shooting form to the release point is very good and a fairly easy ball upon release.

Playmaking:
Kuzma is an above average playmaker at the power forward slot. Traditionally, it would be fair to be satisfied with a 1:1 A/TO ratio at a power frontcourt position. Anything above 2 assists per game is a blessing. Kuzma is above that, average 2.4 assists on 2.1 turnovers per game. Unlike most power forwards, he’s able to grab and go. When he does, he doesn’t accelerate the defense to get a favorable numbers matchup like Julius Randle, but instead, he dribbles heads up and observes the entire floor. Once his defender is on his heels, especially at the 20’ mark, he will opt to his crossover, Euro-step, or a combination of both to finish at the rim.
An underrated part of his game is how well he is able to make passes on the move. This is especially evident in transition or from the high post in an attacking position. Not only can he keep the ball moving from a halfcourt set, but he has shown the ability to throw over the top of defenses to hit cutters and shooters alike.


Defensive skill set:

While Kuzma has shown a solid foundation of triple threat skills and some advancement in terms of shooting and passing from the power forward spot, defense needs to be improved.

Generally speaking, defensive IQ needs to be improved. He has a habit of shading towards his man, especially out to the perimeter. While that is fine for a legitimate positional shooter, it’s poor in terms of team defensive concepts. Essentially, he’s giving opponents the spacing they want, even if it’s a potential non-shooter that he is defending. This leads to a very low swat rate of just 1.6% (according to sports reference) or 0.5 blocks per game. There’s no question he has the athletic tools and physical tools to be more of a rim protector, especially for a guy who shows good court and spatial awareness on the offensive end.

However, this issue can be two-fold as well. While he has the agility to keep up with some guards with some surprisingly good footwork, he can get caught breaking out of good technique and getting easily beaten by lesser competitive guards. When this happens, he has one good lateral slide in him. By slide two, guards are already passed his body and at the cup. It’s difficult to say if it’s a focus or fatigue issue, or a combination of both.
He can work his way up to be a net neutral defensively in terms of defense, especially with interior and perimeter defensive play. Technique is more important at the NBA level, especially when the size and athleticism between players is nearly negligible one-on-one. He was a +2DPM on defense and even earned an all-Pac 12 Conference Defensive award. He doesn’t show the consistent technique, awareness, or burst of Larry Nance, but there is an opportunity for him to be a capable defender and solid switch defender down the line.

How did he get the defensive award? One answer: Rebounding.

Rebounding:

There are rebounders, there are guys that get rebounds, and there are guys that have rebounds fall to them. Kuzma is a guy that makes the most of his reach and athletic ability and has an 11.3% offensive rebounding rate and a 23.3% defensive rebounding rate. This translates to 9.3 rebounds per game in just under 31 minutes of play, or just over 12 rebounds per game per 40. Compared to Julius Randle out of Kentucky, Kuzma is just -2% on offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, and total rebounding. This translates to Randle averaging 10.4 rebounds per game in the same amount of playing time. This is a big plus in Kuzma’s favor early on, especially with the defensive opportunities he needs to work on. Both players go about rebounding differently. While Randle can do it with post base, quick twitch, and motor, Kuzma does so with quick reaction to the offensive glass, while using good technique from his post base to explode up for a clean grab at defensive boards.

Conclusion:

Kyle Kuzma is a player of good upside. Laker fans may think of Brian Cook in terms of a player comparison, but they are two different players. Cook loved spot up shooting and defensive rebounding. Kuzma, on the other hand, has two notches of athleticism, a more diverse skill set from midrange, better touch around the hoop, better court awareness on the offensive end, and could be seen as a potential starter down the line. Power forward is his best position. Playing Kuzma at small forward would negate any athletic advantages at the position, even if he does have the requisite skill set to play there.

According to Cranjis McBasketball (@T1m_NBA) on twitter, his playtype mostly resembles Markeiff Morris and Kevin Love (CLE) with over 90% similarity score.

Document link here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15l7WvacJ6JBqm5Y8xnjkjJtAMqnrkzlJGKsEv9P-8Ts/edit#gid=1758767110

Kuzma’s game does resemble both players, especially in terms of perimeter play and shot selection, but Kuzma does have an edge of playmaking ability over Morris.

Overall, it’s a fair expectation for Kuzma to become a rotation at the NBA level. He has the triple-threat guard-skill set at a front court position, which is incredibly valuable in the modern NBA. It’s only a matter of time before added strength and consistent defensive fundamentals turn him into a potential NBA starter for Los Angeles Lakers

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ChickenStu
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:31 pm    Post subject:

Wow. Absolutely outstanding, Mike. I started thinking Robert Horry, in terms of the shot form from deep, the more I started watching him at Summer League, so that really makes me feel good. (I hadn't seen this posting until just now, actually.) You had it well before I did!

Seriously, this is outstanding work.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject:

^I was hoping that the report pre-Vegas Pro League would reflect 100% accurately afterward. Difficult to do.

Left one in the Josh Hart thread too.
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ChickenStu
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:11 pm    Post subject:

Mike@LG wrote:
^I was hoping that the report pre-Vegas Pro League would reflect 100% accurately afterward. Difficult to do.

Left one in the Josh Hart thread too.


That's why DB pays you the big bucks.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:01 pm    Post subject:

You nailed it, my friend.
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Mike@LG
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:35 am    Post subject:

Dang, it looks cool to look back.
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JerryMagicKobe
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject:

Mike@LG wrote:
Dang, it looks cool to look back.

Indeed.
Well done, my friend!
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