For four consecutive days, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram were able to learn from some of the best players and basketball minds in the NBA as part of the USA Select Team. One of the most valuable experiences was the time the USA Select Team was given to scrimmage against Team USA, comprised of Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.
Though the USA Select Team got beat up pretty good in each scrimmage, a couple of the young Lakers were still able to make an impression, starting with Russell.
“I see tons of talent,” Carmelo Anthony said of Russell. “I see skill. I see someone who can really start to come into his own, really have an opportunity to be a top tier point guard in the NBA. I know this is his second year and he has some work to do but he has tons of upside.
“He (Russell) is very crafty, very clever with the ball. His vision out there on the court is top notch and I think that’s what people love about him. I think with just experience and work he’ll be pretty good.”
Kyrie Irving said it’s “been awesome” watching Russell play and seeing him develop over the season.
“I feel like with how tall he is and how great his handle is, his ability to shoot around the rim, he has a great finishing game.”
Irving, who played alongside new Lakers head coach Luke Walton in Cleveland also suggested Russell will flourish under him.
“I played alongside Luke. I know he’s going to give D’Angelo the ball, let him have freedom and play and let him figure it out.”
Julius Randle’s had a relationship with DeMarcus Cousins since his first year at Kentucky, and Cousins has said before that he expects Randle to be a force in the NBA.
“I think he has all the talent, he has all the abilities, it’s just about figuring out the game and putting it all together and once he figures that part out he’s going to be a scary player in this league,” Cousins said Thursday.
Randle could frequently be found asking Cousins questions on the sidelines during training camp, picking his brain about different aspects of the game.
“First question he (Randle) asked me was like, ‘Man, how are y’all getting so open on each shot?’ I said it’s starting with the screens. A good screen and you end up being open.”
“He’s always picking my brain, always asking for advice, he’s asking about spots on the floor, what’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot, I think he’s a sponge right now, trying to soak in as much information as he can right now. Learning from some of the older guys and some of the talent around him. I think he’s doing all the correct things, and that’s exactly how you should be as a young player in this camp.”