The end of D’Angelo Russell’s rookie campaign was not ideal, to say the least. The off-court incident with Nick Young combined with the rookie wall he seemed to hit made for a tough ending for the 20-year-old.
But with Kobe Bryant wrapping up his incredible 20-year career, the Lakers will need someone to step up and become the next leader and face of the franchise. Could that end up being Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft? Only time will tell, but learning from arguably the greatest player in the history of the Lakers should help his chances, right?
Magic Johnson is often ridiculed for the way he operates his Twitter account, but he delivered some exciting news to Lakers fans everywhere on Sunday in a series of tweets.
Russell was a savant passing the basketball during his lone season at Ohio State, and certainly flashed moments of brilliance in that area this season with the Lakers. But he did learn that passing lanes close much faster in the NBA, leading to a high volume of turnovers at times.
Magic perfected the art of passing, so he could be a great mentor for Russell, who seemed to be at his best when he was looking to score this season. Perhaps working with Johnson this summer can help Russell create a more balanced attack with his game, like we saw him do in college, as he often times had to carry the Buckeyes.
Next season will be important for Russell. To quiet his critics, he will need to show signs of progress, and that starts with the work he puts in this summer. Learning from the greatest point guard in the history of basketball should help him continue to grow as he prepares for his first season under new head coach Luke Walton.
The good news keeps on coming, as the excitement continues to build in Los Angeles.