It has been a long time since the Los Angeles Lakers were relevant in a meaningful way come playoff time. Sure Kobe has managed to string along his group of bench players to a .500 record, but nothing has ever mattered in the Western Conference when you are that mediocre. So when L.A. landed the second overall pick in the NBA draft it was with the hope that help was coming. Rather than grab Jahlil Okafor, considered to be a premium big man for a long time to come, the Lakers rolled the dice on D’Angelo Russel.
D’Angelo Russel, according to Byron Scott, is a burgeoning superstar. While the move shocked most of the basketball world, the Lakers had a game plan all along. And why shouldn’t they? Los Angeles has only had three top-2 picks since 1979 and they picked James Worthy and Magic Johnson with the prior ones, so their track record at picking guards is pretty darn strong at this point.
According to ESPN’s special scouting reports, Russell is the most likely player to explode into a true superstar and he’ll have every opportunity to do so. While Kobe will likely still dominate the ball, Bryant is on his way out of the NBA. Russell is a natural playmaker with elite level talent and elite athleticism reports Igor Cornelsen. Russell is also a nod to what the Warriors did in winning their championship: small players with big shots.