Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the attention has circulated around him to lead the franchise in the right direction as they move onto the team’s next chapter.
That next chapter officially began the night after Kobe Bryant’s epic 60-point performance where he gave the NBA world his good riddance in the way only he could. And since then, Russell has taken it upon himself to improve the most over the summer taking part in the Las Vegas Summer League and Team USA camp as a member of the Select Team.
One person that’s been noticing his progression is the five-time NBA champion himself, who spoke about his former teammate in an interview with Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable SportsNet:
“There’s certain things that he (Russell) has really picked up on, like his body positioning, using his size, being able to get to places. He’s recognizing defensive packages, figuring out where to place guys on the floor. He’s developed very nicely over the summer.”
Besides working out with Team USA, the second-year guard from Ohio State has also been getting reps in with current and former teammates from last season, and one of the targeted focus for Russell was learning how to dominate from the post. With the league being heavily point guard dominate, Russell knows playing the hardest and most important position on the floor comes with a lot of responsibility.
Russell has always been praised for having tremendous court vision besides finishing with a sub-par rookie campaign, but if he can continue to improve on the minor details like Kobe Bryant has alluded to and keep the same work ethic moving forward, the former lottery pick can surely help lead the charge alongside the rest of the Lakers’ young core with Bryant now gone.