NBA: Reason behind Los Angeles Lakers choose D’Angelo Russell over Kristaps Porzingis and how it may affect their decisions in the 2016 NBA draft

With the 2016 NBA draft coming near, the Los Angeles Lakers, who landed at the second overall picks for two consecutive years, are bound to make a crucial decision where the team’s future is at stake.

In the various mock draft made by several sports institutions, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram where the most favorite NBA draft prospects to land in the 1st and 2nd spot. There are speculations that the Los Angeles Lakers top target is Ben Simmons but the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to get him first. Brandon Ingram is still a good pick for the Lakers since they need an accurate shooter and a player with high defensive capability.

However, with the Lakers fans who witnessed the team’s pick last season, they may end up having fears on their mind until the 2016 NBA draft finally arrives. In the 2015 NBA draft, many were surprised with the Lakers decision to sign D’Angelo Russell over Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis. Fans were disappointed with how Russell struggled in the 2015-16 NBA season in comparison to the performances of Okafor and Porzingis.

In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, former Lakers coach Byron Scott revealed how close the Lakers were in choosing the 7-foot-3 Knicks center over D’Angelo Russell.

“Yes. [the discussion of whether or not to take Porzingis was] pretty close,” said Scott. “Like I said, he just came in town, he was pretty worn out after like 20 minutes. So you just didn’t get a chance to see everything he’s capable of doing until the season started and we saw him in the summer league. I said ‘whoa, this kid’s going to be good.’ So there was serious discussion about him, and probably if he’d have been in great shape, then there would have been even more serious discussions about him.”

It is undeniable that Porzingis have shocked most NBA analysts and enthusiast with how he performed in the recent season. Recalling when he was first announced as the first-round pick for the Knicks, he received lots of criticism and many believed that he does not fit with the Knicks. But, Porzingis proved them wrong and he has now the trust of the whole Knicks community.

On the other hand, despite the disappointments in Russell’s recent performance, there are still few who believes that Russell can be a superstar one day. Working hand in hand with a superstar like Kobe Bryant was not an easy task. He has to sacrifice his play in order to give way with the retiring NBA legend. And now that Bryant is out, Russell has the chance to go all out next season and prove himself to the Los Angeles Lakers and the whole NBA what he has something to offer for the league.

Photo courtesy: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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