Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell expressed his excitement for the 2016-17 NBA season after the team had major improvements this summer. The incoming NBA sophomore challenged rookie Brandon Ingram to surpass his achievements last season.
With the hope of reviving their legacy, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to undergo a rebuilding process this offseason. They made their first move by firing Byron Scott and replacing him with former Lakers and Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton.
The 2015-16 NBA season was a disaster for the Lakers after suffering their franchise-worst record of 17-65. Luke Walton caught the attention of the Lakers when he became the interim coach of the Warriors last season leading to a 39-4 start.
In an interview, D’Angelo Russell described their new head coach Luke Walton and compared him to Byron Scott.
“He’s one of the best people I know, as far as off the court,” Russell said of Walton. “We communicate on and off the court as much as possible. I feel like I can call him anytime. He’s not like a head coach that will sit back and just watches his other coaches and colleagues just train other players, he’s always involved.”
Russell’s rookie season was a roller-coaster ride. Playing alongside the Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was one of the hardest parts of Russell’s first stint in the NBA. Also, many people expected him to do what was expected from a second overall pick.
The Lakers got another second overall pick in this year’s draft – Brandon Ingram. Ingram is frequently compared to Warriors superstar Kevin Durant for having the same physique. D’Angelo Russell said that Ingram will become a successful player in the league.
“I told him to embrace the pressure. What he’s going through now is what I went through as far as being the No. 2 pick, all the attention is on you and everybody wanting to see what you can do. Now I look back on what I went through last year and I was like, ‘That was the pressure I had?’ And I kind of didn’t embrace it. Embrace it, like, go get it and go attack it. That’s what I tell him—to go have way more success in your first year than I had.” Russell said.
Despite the improvements, the Los Angeles Lakers are still predicted to become the worst team in the Western Conference next season. D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and the Lakers young cores will now be tasked to continue the team’s legacy in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
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