LA Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell standing out in his draft class

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Everybody else out there seemed to be worried and wondering if we did the right thing. Now everybody is looking at it like, ‘Man, this man can play a little bit,’ ” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Russell. “When you’re a high draft pick, everybody expects you to come out like guns are blazing and you’re supposed to sustain that for 82-plus games. That just doesn’t happen.“I’m sure they’re extremely happy with Porzingis over in New York just like we’re extremely happy with D’Angelo.”Scott said he and Russell never talked about where he stood in regards to his draft stock. But Scott stressed to him not to pay attention toward any public scrutiny before saying, “We took you for a reason and we know you’re going to be a hell of a basketball player.”Russell admitted monitoring specific rookies, such as Towns and Phoenix’s Devin Booker, since they remain close friends. But Russell has continuously downplayed rookie comparisons.“It’s all about the opportunity,” Russell said. “Everybody has a different route toward reaching their potential. Some people bloom early and some people bloom late. If I’m a late bloomer and I’m around this league for a long time, I would prefer that.” Story timeScott will gladly reminisce about the Showtime Lakers anytime a reporter asks. But he has resisted talking much about his 14-year NBA career with his players, for one specific reason.“Some of them don’t want to hear some of the stories we had and the success we had,” Scott said. “I try to talk about them about the things they can do.” There marked one exception on Saturday. Scott and Lakers trainer Gary Vitti brought up former NBA guard Sleepy Floyd, who was drafted by the former New Jersey Nets 13th in 1982 and once got in a fight with Scott. Scott shared that Russell asked, “Who’s that?”Injury updateScott expects both Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams to play in Sunday’s game against New York. Bryant missed practice on Saturday, but Scott believes Bryant’s pain in his right shoulder will not be an issue.Williams practiced on Saturday for the first time in a week and had no reported setbacks in his previously strained left hamstring. center_img The bench provided a visible reminder to D’Angelo Russell that he remains far from the finished product he wanted to become during his rookie season. So did a few of his contemporaries named Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis, all of whom initially posted better numbers than Russell.But when the Lakers (14-52) host the New York Knicks (27-4) on Sunday at Staples Center, the inevitable storyline between Porzingis and Russell will cast the Lakers’ rookie in a positive light. Russell still ranks fourth in his rookie class in points (13.5), 14th in shooting percentage (42.7) and third in assists (3.5). But that does not fully account for his numbers in the 10 games since he has become a starter, during which he has averaged 21 points, 4.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds, while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 46.3 percent from 3-point range.Since the NBA All-Star break, Russell has also topped Porzingis in points (19.8 to 14.4) and minutes played (32.2 to 25.5). Meanwhile, Okafor will need season-ending surgery on his right knee.last_img

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