The Los Angeles Lakers officially introduced their 2015 No. 2 NBA draft pick, D’Angelo Russell on Monday afternoon, their highest pick since James Worthy went No. 1 in 1982.
In our interview above, Lakers Nation goes one-on-one with the newest member of the purple and gold, who said he was so shocked he went so high, that he actually did not keep the practice gear the Lakers gave him when he came in for his two workouts:
I didn’t expect it,” Russell said about going to the Lakers. “I came in for two workouts. They give you a piece of practice gear of shorts and a shirt. I didn’t keep it, I didn’t feel like I was going to be a part of this program, but for me to be a part of it. The emotions are still hitting me.”
Russell also reflects back on the conversation he had with general manager Mitch Kupchak, moments following the announcement, in which Kupchak said he hopes he sees Russell’s jersey hanging in the rafters someday. Those words are something Russell plans to use as motivation, as it’s still hard for him to believe he went with the second pick. After all the talk of the Lakers taking a big, and it likely being Jahlil Okafor, it’s still surreal for Russell:
“I didn’t feel like I was number two. I’ve been hearing so many guys go ahead of me, I definitely feel like I’m the best player, but I didn’t feel like all these teams would pass up on bigs or whatnot, just because of the way the league has played out, but I respect my grind and work ethic, so me being here I know I’m going to make it worth it.”
As for meeting Kobe Bryant, although Russell said he spoke with Bryant on the phone yesterday, he still expects to be a bit starstruck the first time he meets him face to face. What does he expect it to be like? That and more, in our video above.[divide]
Mitch Kupchak On The Lakers Picking D’Angelo Russell At No. 2