During one of his predraft workouts in Los Angeles this month, D’Angelo Russell and all of the Kentucky guys he was sweating and grinding with got a surprise visitor.
Russell said it was a learning experience playing against Paul.
“Man, it was tough,” a smiling Russell said Monday after he was introduced by the Lakers. “He’s first team all-defense. Playing against him for like an hour workout, we were just going at it.”
Russell said Paul took time with him, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyles to teach them the game.
All of them were first-round draft picks.
“He had so much to teach us,” Russell said. “We were guarding him and he was guarding us, but he was still teaching us at the same time. You’ve got to be great to do something like that.
“I know if I’m playing against one of the so-called top guys, I’m going to try to bust him up a little bit. But he was teaching us at the same time. I felt like we competed well. He remembers us. We definitely remember him. But it was a great challenge for us to take.”
Russell said he was surprised to hear how impressed Paul was with the Ohio State guard's demeanor and willingness to learn the game.
Russell said he found out that Paul thought Russell would be a very good player in the NBA and that he should be a high draft choice.
“Those are big words,” Russell said. “I know the name that he has made for himself in this league. For me to hear something like that from a guy like him, it’s something that I’m trying to work towards to be.”