6. Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma should definitely be considered the steal of the draft to this point as he has been phenomenal for the Los Angeles Lakers since day one. After a great summer and NBA Preseason, everyone just assumed that he would slowly tail off, but that has certainly not been the case to this point.
Kuz was taken 27th in the NBA Draft after three years at the University of Utah. During those years, Kyle Kuzma slowly developed into one of the best players in the PAC-12, averaging 16.4 points per game in his junior season to go with 9.3 rebounds per game. Shooting over 50% from the field certainly helped with his production as well. Kuzma was named to the first team All PAC-12 after his final season with the Utes.
Ball and Kuzma have become one of the most impressive rookie duos we have seen in some time, with Ball making all the great passes and Kuz helping him turn those into assists. Kuzma looks like he will be a permanent figure on this list throughout the season and could very easily make a move towards the top if he continues to play the way he has.
Kuzma stats: 14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .533 FG%
5. Dennis Smith Jr.
Our favorite rookie around here is undoubtedly Dennis Smith Jr., but it is not all bias, though, as Junior has proven to be an impressive talent early on in this season. Averaging more than 12 points per game, the rookie has made his case as a point guard with a whole lot of potential. His assist numbers are looking good as well early in the season.
Dennis Smith Jr. spent one year at North Carolina State, where he quickly became a sensation with his gravity-defying dunks almost every game. He took home a few awards in the always difficult ACC, where he was named ACC Rookie of the Year, as well as being a part of the All-ACC Second Team. He was selected ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks, largely considered a steal by many analysts.
None of us are going to be surprised when we see Dennis Smith Jr. move up this list. He may not have started the season at the pace the Mavs are hoping for, but he is showing signs of excellent play in a number of different ways. His scoring will continue to improve and, as it does, his assist numbers should improve as well. Smith Jr. could’ve easily been a little higher or a little lower on this list, but #5 feels just about right.