The Los Angeles Lakers surprised some by drafting Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell over Duke center Jahlil Okafor. With the Lakers’ history of dominant big men, many assumed they would look to continue that trend, but ultimately the team felt that Russell was the best player available.
After the selection, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke to the media and outlined exactly why the team went the way it did in regards to Russell as you can see in the above video via the Lakers Nation Youtube page. In the end, Kupchak said that Russell simply was a player that the team couldn’t pass on.
Kupchak also had high praise for Okafor, saying that he was a good player, while also questioning Okafor’s choice in schools.
It seems like the Lakers did all of their homework throughout this draft choice and in the end, decided that Russell was the player they wanted to add to their developing young core. Kupchak was adamant that the choice was his to make, so if it does turn out to be a miss, he will take the blame.[divide]