The San Antonio Spurs have made it to the Western Conference Finals yet again on a deep run into the playoffs. With that comes a late pick in the NBA Draft and that means the 29th overall pick in the draft as well as the 59th pick in the draft. That leads us to this week’s prospect to watch in Utah’s Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma is a fluid athlete that has solid feet on defense, has above average length and can get to the boards quickly. That last description should excite some Spurs fans considering how poorly the big men have rebounded the ball lately and that those guys in particular are on the wrong side of 30. Here are some of his stats and measurables:
- 6’9”, 225 pounds
- 16.4 PPG, 2.4 APG, 9.3 RPG
- 50.4 FG%, 32.1 3P%, 66.9 FT%
- Max vert of 34 inches, 7’0.25” wingspan
Kuzma is a great athlete who is perfect in transition as he can finish around the rim and usually makes the right decision in those scenarios. He’s also a decent enough ball handler that he can push out on the break and initiate himself if needed. When he’s on — he can be a bit streaky — he has multiple ways to get himself a shot including a series of jab moves, pumps and just blowing by slower defenders.
Kuzma has solid mechanics and a nice release, but will have to become more consistent if he wants to see time on an NBA floor. His lower three-point shooting percentage is a bit scary, but shooting is the easiest thing that can be fixed at the pro level if a player is willing to put in the work. He will need to fix his free throw shooting as well since he’s considered a stretch-4 and is a sub-70 percent shooter from the charity stripe.
The big man shows great promise and could be a nice little project if the Spurs can get him at the right pick. He would be a perfect player to throw into the D-League and let him develop for a couple years before using him to replace an Aldridge or Gasol if necessary. The shooting will be the biggest thing for him as well as becoming a little quicker on his feet so he can defend multiple positions better. He’ll also need to improve his post abilities as well as ball handling skills when he isn’t in the open court as he tends to get a little too loose and can get out of control with the ball.
One mock draft has Kuzma as high as 16, but that’s an unlikely landing spot for him as he’s a second round talent. If he somehow falls to 59 for the Spurs, that would absolutely not be the worst thing to happen.