D’Angelo Russell eager to show his progression since summer league
The Lakers have high hopes for D’Angelo Russell, the Ohio State guard drafted second overall in June’s NBA draft.
Russell struggled through summer league in Las Vegas, averaging more turnovers (5.2 a game) than assists (3.2) while shooting just 11.8% from three-point range.
“I’m eager to be my best, so fast. That’s what really gets me in trouble,” said Russell on Monday, at the team’s annual media day.
“I’m just realizing I’m 19 years old and I’m playing in the best league in the world,” he continued, acknowledging that he’s extremely hard on himself.
Russell has spent the rest of the summer in the gym and is confident the results will be on display when the team hits the court again.
“I’ve just been working hard,” he said. “I don’t really want to talk about it, I just want to showcase it and just prove it.”
It’s unclear if Russell will come off the bench or start at point guard alongside Jordan Clarkson with Kobe Bryant at small forward.
“Coach knows what he’s doing,” said Russell of Byron Scott. “I feel like you have to earn it. Whatever it is, you’re going to have to earn it.”
In the meantime, Russell will pay close attention to his veteran teammates as he tries to quickly adapt to the NBA game.
With a locker right next to Kobe Bryant’s, Russell looks forward to learning from the Lakers’ five-time NBA champion.
“I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be around here, so it’s a good opportunity to pick his brain a little bit every day,” said Russell.
The rookie recently admitted to Bryant that he was slightly nervous about what was to come.
“He was like, ‘It’s the same thing you’ve been doing, the same thing you’ve been preparing for your whole life,’” said Russell. “That kind of gave me a boost.”
“I know a lot of the younger guys in the locker room are looking forward to learning as much as possible from him.”
Russell also said he’s already learned from veteran forward Metta World Peace in recent weeks leading up to training camp.
“Metta for president. That dude is great,” said Russell.
With high draft position come high expectations, but the rookie said he’s not overcome by that burden.
“I wouldn’t say [it’s] overwhelming,” he said. “It’s something that I prepared for. I dreamt it and it’s here, so I’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Alex Shultz contributed to this report.
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