Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, all the attention for the Los Angeles Lakers will be on Kobe Bryant’s 20th season and the young core. With the first preseason game in Hawaii not until October 4, Larry Nance Jr. took some time to discuss numerous topics in a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.
Along with sharing his first impression after being selected with the 27th overall pick, Nance Jr. had high praise for Russell, who is only 19 years old:
“D’Angelo is a great kid,” Nance said. “I mean, it’s crazy because he’s 19 years old! I’m coming into the league with the mindset of like, ‘Alright, after four years of college, I’m ready and I can do this.’ He’s coming into the league like, ‘Alright, after one year I decided I can do it.’ He’s great.
“He’s fun-loving, and loves to just do things. It doesn’t matter what it is. He’ll go to the mall, go to the golf range, go play mini golf. Whatever it may be, he is always moving, always doing stuff. So I’m really enjoying trying to keep up with him. He’s just so eager to see everything and I’m tagging along.”
Although Russell averaged 11.8 points and 5.2 rebounds at the Las Vegas Summer League, he struggled with his shooting (37.7 percent) and turnovers (5.2). He acknowledged his ‘risk-taking’ style led to those turnovers, but has since talked with numerous Lakers legends including Kobe, Jerry West and James Worthy.
Heading into his rookie season, there are high hopes for Russell, who is expected to eventually carry the storied franchise after Kobe retires. While the playoffs are one of the team’s goals, the development of the young core over the course of the season will be crucial in attracting free agents.[divide]