Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube
Weight: 223 lbs
Projected: 29 (CPP Big Board) 36 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Kuzma is one of the sleepers in this year’s NBA Draft. Playing his college career at Utah, Kuzma did not get the notoriety he deserved for someone of his skillset. Although a mid-late second round pick in most mock drafts, CPP writers, and NBA Analyst Brett Siegel are pretty high on Kuzma. Standing at 6-foot-9, Kuzma is referred to as more of a stretch four and spends most of his time out on the perimeter but knows how to use his body to compete inside. In his freshman year at Utah in 2014-15, Kuzma averaged 3.2 points in 8.2 minutes per game. In his sophomore season, Kuzma improved his numbers by averaging 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game, a huge increase from his first year in Utah. But, this year was when Kuzma separated himself from the field averaging nearly a double-double with 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per contest. Kuzma’s rapid improvement is a good sign for his draft stock as he has been able to go from a role player his freshman year to a star player in his junior year on his way to becoming a potential first round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
Strengths: For someone of his stature, Kuzma is very fluid and under control on the floor. Kuzma is very nimble on his feet which allow him to break down defenders in a multitude of ways. According to DraftExpress.com, Kuzma averaged 1.34 PPP this year in transition. While Kuzma is great at getting out on the break and letting his teammates find him for easy buckets, but he also can bring up the ball himself and has shown he is very poised with the ball and can finish under control. Kuzma’s versatility further translates to the half-court game. Kuzma almost acts like a point forward. Not often do you see a 6-foot-9 big guy who can pass and shoot as well as Kuzma has shown he’s capable of doing. Kuzma doesn’t possess the athletic ability to make a career in the NBA off playing above the rim, but, if he can knock down threes consistently and become a liability from the outside, he can become a solid contributor for an NBA team.
Weaknesses: Kuzma’s biggest problem is consistency. Too often Kuzma gets caught up in hero ball and tries to do too much which often leads to negative results. On the offensive end, Kuzma can knock down shots, but he’s very streaky, and either is super hot or super cold. On defense, he’s shown flashes of potential with his length, but he still has a lot of room to grow to become a reliable defender in the NBA.
Comparison: Marquese Chriss
With Kuzma at 6-foot-9 and Chriss at 6-foot-10, both are very agile and light on their feet for someone of their own height. While Chriss as the advantage in the athleticism department, these two are very similar in their ability to shoot the ball from deep with a very fluid shooting stroke. Both can also attack off the bounce which is very beneficial with their height along with their perimeter capabilities.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts:
Photo via MLive