Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell understands the pressures associated with being a lottery pick in the NBA Draft all too well. The second overall pick in 2015 came into the league with sky-high expectations as he was hyped as both an incredible passer and the savior for a struggling Lakers franchise. Now those same pressures are being placed upon the Lakers’ newest lottery pick, Brandon Ingram.
Russell and Ingram played together during the Las Vegas Summer League, and the two bonded over their shared history as number two picks. Russell had an up-and-down rookie season, but did make some major strides throughout the year and the Lakers are hoping Ingram will be able to do the same.
Russell recently sat down with Drew Ruiz of SLAM and seems to really enjoy playing with Ingram:
“That’s my guy! I think he’s going to be successful in this League. He’s a funny dude and is real quiet ’til you really get to know him.”
Russell and Ingram can relate in a way that few others can, as Ingram is now feeling the eyes upon him as a legion of Lakers fans hopes that he will become the league’s next great superstar. Russell spoke about the advice that he has given Ingram on handling that pressure:
“I told him to embrace the pressure. What he’s going through now is what I went through as far as being the No. 2 pick, all the attention is on you and everybody wanting to see what you can do. Now I look back on what I went through last year and I was like, ‘That was the pressure I had?’ And I kind of didn’t embrace it. Embrace it, like, go get it and go attack it. That’s what I tell him, to go have way more success in your first year than I had.”
Russell is spot-on here, as a timid approach won’t serve Ingram well given the circumstances. Russell appears poised to take over as the leader of the team now that Kobe Bryant has retired, and Ingram follows his advice and embraces the pressure, the Lakers should be a lot of fun to watch next season.