The Los Angeles Lakers shocked everyone on draft night selecting D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio State with the second overall pick. It appears Russell impressed the Lakers brass in the two workouts he had with the team.
One of the biggest reasons the Lakers may have gone with Russell over Jahlil Okafor on draft day is their confidence in landing All-Star forward in NBA free agency, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express:
The Lakers feel pretty confident about their chances of getting LaMarcus Aldridge. Major reason they decided to go with Russell apparently.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 25, 2015
Before the Lakers headed into the NBA Draft, the news broke about Aldridge informing the Portland Trail Blazers that he wouldn’t be returning to the team. On Wednesday, rumors began to circulate about Los Angeles moving ahead of the Dallas Mavericks on Aldridge’s wish list and behind the San Antonio Spurs.
Although the Spurs may be the frontrunners for Aldridge, the Lakers will make a strong case for the All-Star forward once free agency begins on July 1. Aldridge will have the prospect of playing alongside Kobe Bryant as well as promising young players like Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Russell.[divide]