The Los Angeles Lakers have had a difficult past few seasons with the losses piling up and the playoffs a distant memory. However, the silver lining has been the arrival of young talent via the NBA Draft. All of the losses have resulted in the Lakers having the second overall pick in the last two drafts, which they used to bring D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram to Los Angeles.
“They want to be great players, and I think both of those players being drafted at No. 2, they should have a shot of at least being a great player if we know what we’re doing at all. I don’t think anybody would say that both those players don’t have a chance at being great players.”
Kupchak is correct in his assessment that both Ingram and Russell have a chance at being great, although patience is going to be needed. Russell is only 20, and Ingram just turned 19, which means they are both not close to being in their athletic primes. Still, Kupchak believes that there are certain expectations that rightfully come with being the second overall pick.
“It’s a process. I know they want it, I know they want it now, but it’s not gonna happen over night. And they’re not the only two, I think we have a couple other players that are young that have a chance also. But being drafted No. 2, it has to be discussed…When you’re drafted No. 2 there should be expectations.”
Of course, Russell and Ingram will have different roles this season. As a sophomore, Russell will be expected to take on a leadership role and run the offense. Ingram, on the other hand, will spend the year getting his feet wet in the NBA, and will begin the season coming off the bench.
While the Lakers aren’t expected to win much this season, it’s still going to be a lot of fun to watch the young players develop. If they can build chemistry while developing their individual skills, we could see the foundation set for something special.